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Senate Transportation & Energy Committee Passes Bill that Threatens Hundreds of Thousands of Jobs, Billions of Dollars of State Revenue, and Hundreds of Millions in Education Funding

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DENVER, March 6, 2019 – Tonight, the Colorado State Senate Transportation & Energy Committee passed SB19-181 on a party-line vote. The bill would at the very least hinder, if not prohibit energy development in Colorado, directly threatening hundreds of thousands of jobs, billions of dollars of state revenue, and hundreds of millions in education funding. Further, the Democratic Senate and House leadership seems intent on pushing this misinformed bill forward, despite it being fraught with unintended consequences.

“Not only is this bad policy and a gross overreach by bill sponsors in every aspect, but the process by which this bill has been shoved through the legislature signals to Colorado that this leadership has little regard for those impacted by their bad policy. We are still hopeful that the sponsors of the bill and Governor Polis’ office will slow down this process and listen to as much stakeholder input as is needed, proven by the stakeholders who tonight expressed strong concern with their lack of input on the bill,” said Tracee Bentley, executive director of the Colorado Petroleum Council. “SB19-181 contains the most overreaching provisions of any energy proposal we have ever reviewed, and all but guarantees that industry will be forbidden from operating in certain jurisdictions.”

Other challenges this legislation presents include that there are no time limits for decision making by local governments; they could simply run out the clock and prevent an operator from ever filing an application with the COGCC.  

The most problematic portion of the 27-page bill is the language that calls for a halt to all permitting of existing and new applications until every rulemaking outlined in this bill has been completed and each rule is in effect. The bill requires a minimum of six rulemakings, which could drain resources and take multiple years to conduct and implement. At a minimum, this could result in a multi-year ban on oil and gas development in the state.

“This bill simply goes too far. There are far too many unintended consequences,” said Bentley. “The legislative process should start over with ample opportunity for input and review by all stakeholders, including industry, mineral owners, agriculture and local governments to avoid these unintended consequences.”  

The bill passed following a rally at the state Capitol with approximately 1,000 oil and natural gas workers and supporters of the industry. Having defeated Proposition 112 last November, energy industry workers and their supporters returned to the state Capitol to once again stand in defense of their jobs and livelihoods, and remained on site for the duration of the day to share testimony and personal stories with lawmakers.

The Colorado Petroleum Council is a division of API, which represents all segments of America’s oil and natural gas industry. Its more than 600 members produce, process, and distribute most of the nation’s energy. The industry supports 10.3 million U.S. jobs and is backed by a growing grassroots movement of more than 47 million Americans. API was formed in 1919 as a standards-setting organization. In its first 100 years, API has developed more than 700 standards to enhance operational and environmental safety, efficiency and sustainability.