Bill 181 = Wet Cement
Senate Bill 181 leaves more question marks than periods as Colorado waits for the cement around drilling to dry
It is September 2019, and Colorado residents are starting to sense a hint of the fall season as they breath in the final days of summer. The smoke from the legalization of marijuana has just about cleared entirely as residents have a new piece of legislation to discuss with neighbors between mowing the lawn and talking the hound dog for a walk. Senate Bill 181, “Protect Public Welfare Oil and Gas Operations Act” however leaves more question marks than it does periods. If you are one of the many unsure exactly what the bill does, continue reading this short article for clarification.
Keep in mind these altercations are completely foreign to the industry’s history, and done as a matter of prioritizing environmental and public safety over oil and natural gas development.
Essential Effects of SB 181
- Gives local governments jurisdictional control over all things ‘new drilling’ and Alters forced pooling and drilling procedural requirements
#1 Addressed: The bill extends the power of “regulating” oil and gas development in Colorado to County-wide government which includes land rights over the acquisition of any new drilling permits.
- Arms county government with a variety of new jurisdictional capabilities over new oil and gas related drilling
#2 Addressed: Gives local government ability to issue fines for leaks, spills, ect… suspend operations due to subjective hazards to public safety or adverse environmental impact, test air pollutants for emission levels of gases such as methane
- Appoints new president of the COGCC (Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission) as well as replaces all but two panel members and changes one key word in COGCC mission statement
#3 Addressed: Prior to SB 181, the mission statement of the COGCC was the following: The COGCC is charged with fostering the responsible development of Colorado’s oil and gas natural resources in a manner consistent with the protection of public health, safety, and welfare, including the environment and wildlife resources. Today, the mission statement reads exactly the same except for the replacement of ‘fostering’ with ‘regulating,’ which seems to redirect and repurpose the organization’s resolve.
County by County Ordnances
Some counties have already put as long as a 9-month moratorium on all oil and gas drilling. Weld County Commissioner Barbara Kirkmeyer stated, “Nothing about this bill, the way it was passed, or the way local governments like Adams County are interpreting it could lead anyone to conclude that Jared Polis and his Boulder colleagues are taking a balanced approach.”
The state law on the regulation of oil used to be the ceiling, now the state is the floor, commented executive director of League of Oil and Gas Impacted Coloradans (LOGIC, Sara Loflin).
Could Senate Bill 181 be an early wake-up call for the oil and gas industry to make proactive changes to being a much-needed industry transformation? Click on the link below to read further