The O&G Bill That Was So Secret Democrats Held a Giant Press Conference to Introduce It

We wrote earlier today about efforts by oil and gas interests to delay legislation intended to prioritize the health and safety of Coloradans over profits or other motives in regulating oil and gas drilling operations. The O&G industry is pushing hard to establish a narrative of Democrats crafting Senate Bill 181 in secret and “rushing” the bill through the legislature.

This narrative runs into trouble, however, when you remember that Democrats HELD A GIGANTIC PRESS CONFERENCE ANNOUNCING THE LEGISLATION just last week. Take a look at this headline from the Denver Business Journal in which the photograph used at the top of the story completely contradicts the headline:

This was such a big secret that dozens of people — including the House Speaker and the Governor — gathered for a press conference last Thursday. From the Denver Business Journal, 3/4/19

As we also mentioned earlier today, the O&G industry is panicking over their loss of control with Democrats in charge of both legislative chambers and a Democrat in the Governor’s office, which has them resorting to specious claims of a secret, super-fast bill process.

Headline aside, Ed Sealover’s story for the Journal does include a few telling quotes about how and why the industry ended up here in the first place:

Becker said at a Monday morning media briefing that she believes there will be plenty of time to discuss what is likely to be one of the most debated bills of 2019. It will have to go through the energy, finance and appropriations committees before getting to the Senate floor and then run another gauntlet of three committees in the House, giving people plenty of opportunity to comment on the measure, she said…

…But she also said pointedly that there was a lack of trust for some in the industry after the campaign for Amendment 74, which would have given property or mineral-rights owners greatly expanded ability to sue local governments for any decisions they make that could impair the value of their properties. Statewide voters defeated that measure, which Becker called “such bad policy and so destructive,” handily in November.

The O&G industry tried to pass a destructive measure in Amendment 74 so that they could have leverage in discussions with lawmakers. That didn’t work, so now the industry is left grasping at laughable straws like “secrecy” that are easily disproved.

Elections have consequences.

21 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Voyageur says:

    Yes, elections have consequences.   Stalinist 112 would have destroyed the industry root and branch.   It lost, big time.   Citizens won 't forget if you simply ram a new Stalinist bill through the lege. See you in court, liars!

    • There you go again with the Stalinist. Where is the gulag? Where is the personality cult? Stop sniffing the Trump tweets, they cause brain damage.

      • Voyageur says:

        But you lost your Stalinist wet dream, Comrad e Corky!  For now, you'll have to just dream of that Gulag in Greeley.  As for a personality cult, you bernistas already have one.  

    • MADCO says:

      – this bill kills puppies. and kittens.
      – causes cancer in lab rats and single women.
      – is disresectful to investors and workers.
      – is unAmerican.

      But it does respect local control – and science.
      So – I'm torn.

      You have persuaded me because Stalin was a bad, bad guy.

      Good job. Your work is done here.

    • Republican 36 says:

      V has a good point.  Elections do have consequences but we should never assume what those consequences are or should be.  When we win elections one of the biggest mistakes is to assume all our policy preferences were endorsed by the voters.  Assumptions like that can lead to defeat in the next election.  Its better to be cautious and think through what an election means.

      This thread misses that point entirely.  The question is this:  Did the voters really want to restructure and reconstitute the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and the distribution of control between the COGCC and local governments, in the manner Senate Bill 181 intends to do, especially in light of the defeat, by the electorate, of initiative 112?

      Another question this thread misses entirely is did the sponsors of 181 discuss it with industry representatives before it was introduced?  Holding a news conference the day the bill is introduced doesn't answer that question.

      A bill like 181 with its potential negative consequences for one industry which (and I don't believe there's any argument about this number) directly employs 50,000 people should not be undertaken lightly without a thorough discussion with those impacted.  It is good politics and good policy making to undertake such a discussion.  Its also fair, especially where so many individuals and there families may be severely impacted by this bill in the form it was introduced.

      • mamajama55 says:

        Not over 50,000 jobs in extraction. Nor 112,000 as Hick claimed, nor 250,000 as COGCC claimed.

        Last year, in 2018, there were about 26,000 jobs in Colorado directly related to oil and gas exraction.  See for yourself. Go to Colorado Dept. of Labor and Employment, Labor Market Analysis, Occupational analysis and look up "extraction".  Oil and gas extraction is part of the Mining, Logging, and Construction sector, but most of that is building construction.

        For extraction workers in 2018,  there were 24, 853 annual job openings.

        A search with keyword "oil" turns up other occupations, such as rotary drillhead operator. That one only had 179 annual openings.

        Support workers for mining operations is only .6% of all jobs in Colorado now, not the huge sector COGCC likes to brag on. Oil and gas extraction as a whole comprises about 3% of all jobs in Colorado.

        As many people exit as are coming into oil work, and the overall trend is down.  The salaries of most people on the ground are nowhere near that $80K figure often cited. It's a profitable business for the CEOs, surely, and probably for the top execs and engineers and lobbyists. But not for the roughnecks freezing their asses off and risking getting blown up every day.

        Always check your stats at the source.


        • Republican 36 says:

          MJ, I don't have time this morning to look at the statistics you cited so I'll take your word for it.  Now back to the questions posed in my comment. Do you think those are legitimate issues?


        • Voyageur says:

          As I have pointed out many times, an industry that produces 30,000 primary jobs will produce two or three times that when the well- known multiplier effect finishes playing it's way through the economy.  This annoying fact doesn't fit mj's jihad against working people, so she ignores it, cues "Ride of the Valjyries" and charges off to do battLe with the industry.

          But it makes her argument a lie.  A lie of omission, yes.  But a lie nonetheless.

      • The realist says:

        The negative impacts (VOCs, methane, noise, etc) of drilling near homes and schools have been known for years, and have been discussed in public for years. The prohibition against local government having any planning and zoning jurisdiction re: oil and gas has been known for years. The idiocy of Colorado's laws regarding forced pooling – far beyond what reasonable states do in this area – has been known for years. Of course the proposed legislation should have full public discussion, as any proposed legislation should. But where are the surprises in this bill? I don't see any surprises. And I also don't see anything egregious. 

        Try this for an analogy: Just because the Trump crime family has operated in criminal ways for years, and continues to do so, doesn't mean they shouldn't – finally – have proper controls imposed.


      • JohnInDenver says:

        When we win elections one of the biggest mistakes is to assume all our policy preferences were endorsed by the voters.  Assumptions like that can lead to defeat in the next election.  Its better to be cautious and think through what an election means.

        I'm not certain that the highest and best measure of wise policy is victory or defeat in the next election. 

        Nor am I convinced of the utility of having policy developed by the majority of the people who choose to vote in a single election.

        I am all for allowing discussion and argument over proposals, and I think the extensive exchange is provided by a legislature continuing the exchange by introducing a bill and having multiple committee hearings and floor debates allows for the debate.  Any problems there will no doubt be subject to further debate in the courts and future legislatures, to say nothing of initiative campaigns.

        • RepealAndReplace says:

          Republican36 is correct. Since more often than not, people cast negative votes – that is, they vote against the candidate who will do the most harm to the voter's interests – a winning candidate assumes at his, her or their own risk an endorsement of whatever he, she or they was/were peddling.

          Moderatus may have appropriated the Overreach moniker on this site briefly – before mutating into PodestaEmails – but there actually is such a thing as overreaching.

      • mamajama55 says:

        Initiative 112 didn't say anything about the makeup of COGCC. It was strictly about setbacks.  I'd have to research the history, and don't have time now, but I believe that the stated intent of COGCC was to bring all voices, not just industry voices, to the table when discussing oil and gas regulation.

        I'll reply at more length later.


  2. MADCO says:

    Waitaminute –
    Are granny anal or MsFister gonna come to testify?  Cause their special brand of testifying is compelling.

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