Oil and Gas Industry Shows Their Hand (It’s Junk)

Back the frack up

Last week Colorado Democrats announced sweeping legislation intended to make significant changes to oil and gas regulations in Colorado that would prioritize health and safety issues over profits.

As the Denver Post reports today, the oil and gas industry is positively panicking about the situation at the State Capitol:

The fossil fuels industry’s two main lobbying groups on Sunday issued an appeal urging Colorado lawmakers to delay a legislative hearing for discussion of an oil and gas bill, warning of “grave impacts” and arguing that lawmakers first should conduct “a legitimate dialogue.” [Pols emphasis]

Colorado Petroleum Council and Colorado Oil and Gas Association officials declared they’re asking Democratic Senate President Leroy Garcia and Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg to delay the committee hearing scheduled for 2 p.m. Tuesday where legislators would explore Senate Bill 181.

Lawmakers for months have been preparing this legislation including measures aimed at prioritizing public health and safety. The legislation in the works addresses mapping to show the locations of oil and gas lines, pollution from the industry and the controversial practice of “forced pooling” that lets companies drill for oil and gas even when mineral property owners object.

Democrats plan to hold the first hearing on Senate Bill 181 on Tuesday, noting that there will be a total of six public hearings and four legislative votes before the bill could make it to the desk of Colorado Gov. Jared Polis. Don’t forget: The Colorado legislature is only in session for 120 days.

Asking legislators to delay is a standard approach from interest groups looking to derail a particular bill. The O&G strategy is to drag out the debate to give them more time to lean on specific legislators, with the hope that they can create enough public pressure to flip votes in their favor. This kind of strategerie is similar to what right-wingers did in 2009-10 in an attempt to derail the Affordable Care Act; after 18 months of generally pointless debate and screaming from the newly-formed “Tea Party,” Democrats finally stopped acceding to GOP delaying tactics and pushed it through to the desk of President Obama.

It is a rich bit of irony that the O&G community wants lawmakers to slow down; remember that this is an industry that spent millions of dollars trying to pass a massively-flawed ballot measure (Amendment 74) last fall — for the primary purpose of giving themselves more leverage in future drilling debates. In the parlance of poker, the O&G industry is holding a junk hand at the moment, and they aren’t even going to try to bluff their way forward.

The O&G industry spent tens of millions of dollars on the 2018 election, in support of Amendment 74, in opposition to Proposition 112, and in support of numerous Republican candidates for the state legislature. Democrats claimed historic victories nonetheless. In 2020, the industry is again going to support Republicans over Democrats no matter what happens with SB-181.

The O&G industry has been trying to sweep away this type of legislation for more than a decade now. Democrats see this delaying tactic for what it is.

Now it’s time to move forward.


12 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. VoyageurVoyageur says:

    Don't forget how badly Stalinist 112 was crushed.  And existing federal fifth amendment protections still apply.

    So don’t invest in cow chip futures just yet.

  2. PseudonymousPseudonymous says:

    Can we get "Oil and Gas Industry Shows Their Junk" instead?  Thanks.

  3. ParkHill says:

    Elections have consequences.

    O&G Industry is all-in with the Republican Party and climate deniers. There is no-one to negotiate with in the Republican Party, and you can't negotiate with someone who is besties with your enemy.

    They are so f-in' stupid, as if their money doesn't stink like sulfur.

    Here's the deal: We offer you Nothing. 

    If you want a seat at the table:
    (1) You will accept heavy regulation on pollution and health issues,
    (2) We are transitioning to clean energy sooner rather than later. Either get on the train or get out of the way.

    • VoyageurVoyageur says:

       3.  In the next election they will come at you with $100 million and throw your Stalinist asses out.  That's the price of overreach.

      • ParkHill says:

        You got me there.

        I was not paying attention the huge majority of people who love pollution. I also didn't notice the huge majority who are opposed to clean energy.

      • Well, it was actually about $32 million against Prop 112, but who's counting.

        Also, Prop 112 was very inflexible – it had no local control provisions – so projecting that its failure will correspond to a similar outcome regarding the Legislature acting in this way (and providing for some local control of surface operations) is, I think, quite a stretch. People tend to trust their local governments a lot more than the State (and far far more than the Fed).

        And, Stalinist? Really? Stalin would have nationalized the oil companies and stolen their profits. Who here is proposing anything similar? Such rhetoric makes you sound like a CPAC attendee.

        • VoyageurVoyageur says:

          So, it's money that's evil.  This from a hypocrite whose candidate for governor spent over $20 million to buy th e office!  Yes, 112 was Stalinist, designed to destro y 85 percent of t he gas industry without a penny compensation. 

          you and your goons lost, big time.  


        • Genghis says:

          And, Stalinist? Really? 

          Well, of course! After all:

          Stalin: 20 million killed, not to mention the millions of unnecessary deaths due to incompetent leadership during the Great Patriotic War

          S.B. 181: Fails to fellate the O&G industry with sufficient enthusiasm.

          See? Pretty much identical.

          • VoyageurVoyageur says:

            I never said 181 was Stalinist.  112 was Stalinist, seizing billions in private property without compensation.  But you knew that, Comrade!

            I haven’t read 181. But have some faith in the legislative process. If it has flaws — and what doesn’t — they will be debated in many hearings. Not all Democrats want to destroy the oil and gas industry and live in a yurt. These moderates will be heard in the days ahead, even if they were frozen out of the drafting process.
            Democracy is messy, yes. But Stalinist 112 was an assault on the democratic process. 181 is representative government at work.
            Let the process play out before you invest in cow chip futures!

    • Genghis says:

      That's very well put, Park Hill. The O&G industry gives zero shits about "a legitimate debate." As shenanigans in recent years fully establish, the industry's idea of legitimate debate is "Fuck you; we get whatever we want."

      The U.S. is the worldwide leader in oil production. Since new wells are not even remotely profitable absent public subsidies, it's all happening on the backs of taxpayers. That makes this here industry the biggest welfare queen in world history. The key is going after the subsidies. If the maggots who run the industry can be convinced there's a credible threat to their massive corporate welfare, then maybe–just maybe–they'll start falling in line.

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