Oil, gas industry groups wary of plans for ‘sweeping’ new regs

DENVER — Oil and gas industry groups are expressing concern following an announcement Thursday that House Speaker KC Becker, D-Boulder, and Senate Majority Leader Stephen Fenberg, D-Boulder, would soon put forth new legislation to boost regulations on drilling.

The Colorado Oil and Gas Association questioned the need for “sweeping” new legislation and argued the state’s existing regulations are some of the most strict in the nation.

“While we look forward to seeing legislation that lawmakers have described as common-sense reforms, their notion that oil and natural gas regulations haven’t been modernized and strengthened in 60 years is revisionist history,” Colorado Oil and Gas Association CEO Dan Haley said in a prepared statement. “We have the strictest regulations in the country, and they have been updated dozens and dozens of times with bipartisan support and the involvement of countless stakeholders.”

The new bill, which is expected to be introduced in the coming days and will be supported by Gov. Jared Polis,  would increase local control over the drilling permit process and shift the mission of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission from a group tasked with fostering oil and gas development to a group focused on regulating the industry. The bill would also give local government more power to enforce land use and zoning rules, as well as increased setback requirements. New limits on “forced pooling” would also be included.

Colorado Petroleum Council Executive Director Tracee Bentley said the new regulations are being considered without the appropriate level of stakeholder input.

“In my over 15 years of working with the Colorado state government, not having a thorough stakeholder process is unprecedented, especially for a bill that targets one industry but impacts every Coloradan,” she said in a statement. “We are deeply disappointed that House and Senate leadership do not appear to value the stakeholder process nor the importance of having all stakeholders at the table on one of the most consequential proposals in Colorado history.”

In a letter endorsed by a host of Northern Colorado business groups, Greeley-based Upstate Colorado Economic Development also urges lawmakers to engage with stakeholders and “seek reasonable compromise and workable outcomes” before adopting new oil and gas regulations.

“Colorado health officials have been monitoring the effectiveness of the state’s oil and natural gas regulatory framework for years and have factual answers to the questions raised by some citizens and elected officials about energy development,” the letter said. “The facts must continue to drive the discussion.”

The letter notes the industry’s role in bolstering the Colorado economy and the tax revenue that oil and gas operators contribute to state and local coffers.

DENVER — Oil and gas industry groups are expressing concern following an announcement Thursday that House Speaker KC Becker, D-Boulder, and Senate Majority Leader Stephen Fenberg, D-Boulder, would soon put forth new legislation to boost regulations on drilling.

The Colorado Oil and Gas Association questioned the need for “sweeping” new legislation and argued the state’s existing regulations are some of the most strict in the nation.

“While we look forward to seeing legislation that lawmakers have described as common-sense reforms, their notion that oil and natural gas regulations haven’t been modernized and strengthened in 60 years is revisionist history,” Colorado Oil and Gas Association CEO Dan Haley said in a prepared statement. “We have the strictest regulations in the country, and they have been updated dozens and dozens of times with bipartisan support and the involvement of countless stakeholders.”

The new bill, which is expected to be introduced in the coming days and will be supported by Gov. Jared Polis,  would increase local control over the drilling permit process and shift the mission of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission from a group tasked with fostering oil and gas development to a group focused on regulating the industry. The bill would also give local government more power to enforce land use and zoning rules, as well as increased setback requirements. New limits on “forced pooling” would also be included.

Colorado Petroleum Council Executive Director Tracee Bentley said the new regulations are being considered without the appropriate level of…