Colorado Senate committee hears debate over sweeping oil and gas bill [The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.)]
But that industry drives the state’s economy, creates jobs and donates money and time to
Controversy and hours of debate stemmed from Senate Bill 181, which Senate Majority Leader
The bill would tighten regulations, prioritize health and safety over business development and give local governments control of industry permits.
The oil and gas industry still could operate, “but not at the expense of people’s health and safety,” Fenberg said.
“With proper regulations and inspections and pressure testing, this entire tragedy could have been avoided,” Martinez told the committee.
Under the bill, local governments could inspect oil and gas operations and impose fines for leaks, spills and emissions. The legislation also would mandate that a majority of property owners over a common-source energy supply must consent to drilling.
And the bill would redefine the mission of the
That change is important, as the commission has failed in its responsibilities, said
“I’ve seen my neighbor’s home become unlivable” because of noise from a nearby operation, Weeber said. “I’ve watched my neighbor Joel’s well become contaminated. COGCC is not protecting our water, it’s not protecting our health, and I urge you to make that change so that can happen.”
But many people in shirts proclaiming “I AM
Local control is needed, and Fenberg’s measure is the right vehicle to provide it, said
Some local officials had a different perspective.
But counties and communities don’t have to enact tighter rules, as they’re optional, said Sen.
Foote questioned industry proponents repeatedly as to how the bill would eliminate jobs. Some said tighter regulation would discourage companies from investing in the state and force others to leave. Others said fears of calamity are far overblown, and the industry would continue to profit.
The committee hadn’t voted as of press time, but even if the bill passed, two more committee hearings in the
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