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March 19, 2013 08:56 AM UTC

Legislative Democrats Take Action on "Fracking"

  • by: Colorado Pols

Cathy Proctor of the Denver Business Journal reports:

Three new bill proposals calling for additional regulation of the oil and gas industry were introduced late Monday in the Colorado Legislature.

They’re among a wave of legislative proposals addressing the oil and gas industry that have been predicted for months, as controversy has swirled along Colorado’s Front Range over the industry’s recent boom. Colorado has hit record levels of oil and natural gas production in the last few years.

“I hope we can get some of them through,” House Speaker Mark Ferrandino, D-Denver, said Monday regarding the latest bills.

None of the three bills would resolve the issue of local governments banning the use of controversial "fracking" methods for oil and gas production within their boundaries–an issue that has pitted popular Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper against cities like Longmont and Fort Collins. Hickenlooper's ardent-trending-irresponsible backing of the oil and gas industry has earned him the critical nickname "Frackenlooper," and moments of exposed deception like his claim to have "drank frack fluid," later clarified to not be the fluid actually used in drilling operations, have significantly undermined his credibility.

What you do have here are three bills to increase fines on the industry (House Bill 1267), set up mandatory disclosure of the "split estate" system and mineral rights to surface property buyers (House Bill 1268), and a bill changing the mission of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) and barring oil and gas industry employees from the commission beginning next year (House Bill 1269).

We have heard that Gov. Hickenlooper, while unmoved on the larger facts of the issue, has been personally stung by the criticism he has received during the growing rebellion against "fracking" in Colorado, and his apparent inability to bring the sides to a mutually acceptable resolution. Hickenlooper's ability to do exactly that was a major selling point during his 2010 election bid, though GOP disasters in the gubernatorial race mean he didn't have to sell himself much. Some of the arguments that will be presented in these bills will be harder for Hickenlooper to oppose; changing the mission of the COGCC so that it is not both a cheerleader for the industry and the organization charged with regulatory oversight, for example, seems like a pretty common sense measure. Either way, the conflict over "fracking" in Colorado represents the biggest crisis of Gov. Hickenlooper's political career thus far–and he has not acquitted himself well.

So, obviously, Hickenlooper's handling of these bills will be closely watched.


13 thoughts on “Legislative Democrats Take Action on “Fracking”

    1. you know the people I have talked to refer to Hickenlooper as politically unviable at this point.

      And the primary speculation has been fueled sufficiently enough…

      Morgan Carroll posted this on Facebook yesterday regarding a massive gas / hydrocarbon spill in Parachute


      her quote

      "What chances are we willing to take with our water? "

      in regards to this article she posted

  1. Been hopin' something like this would happen!  Who are the sponsors?  I'd be willing to buy them a drink made with pure, clean water and the liquor of their choice!  If Hick's smart, he'll do the same AT THE SIGNING!

    1. Pesky link thingys on the internet!  If you follow them, they actually tell you something!  My thanks to Mike Foote and Domenick Moreno!  I mean it, drinks are on me!


  2. "handling"?


    The gov will sign bills that O&G want. He will not sign or will veto the bills they don't want.  By what definition is that "handling"?

  3. How about increasing appropriations so that we can actually enforce existing law? New regs are meaningless w/o enforcement.  We currently have something like 3 inspectors for ~2K well sites if memory serves.

  4. If Hick truly believes that; it is important for all to agree on facts. And, if Hick thinks the D leg is wrong on the facts then I hope he will take this opportunity to testify in the committees that hear these bills and make the effort to convince those members of the "facts".

  5. I fear the on on split estate notification will die far from the guv's desk. The real estate industry will fight it on all fronts. I also agree with DaftPunk that without substantially more money designated for enforcement, all the new measures will be almost meaningless.


  6. Why not? Democrats are driving 100s of jobs out with the mag ban, might as well choke off the energy industry while you're at all. Soon we will all be equal slaves and serfs to the State, and in the dark too.

    1. Legal marijuana will more than make up for any jobs lost from one mag company, if they make good on their threat.   As for the energy industry, they're doing just fine without us subsidizing their poison anymore. We don't all want to suck on the oil and gas industry's pipes, pal.

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