A look at the House District 57 race | PostIndependent.com
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A look at the House District 57 race

The state House District 57 seat is up for grabs this year after Rep. Al White, R-Hayden, moved on to compete for the State Senate District 8 race. The district covers Jackson, Grand, Routt, Moffat, Rio Blanco and the western part of Garfield County. Here is a brief snapshot of the two candidates’ opinions on oil and gas issues in northwest Colorado.

Name: Randy L. Baumgardner

Age: 52



Political Affiliation: Republican

Residence: Hot Sulphur Springs



Occupation: Rancher / CDOT

Education: Two years at Indiana University Southeast

What are the three most important issues Northwest Colorado faces?

1) Water

2) Energy

3) Private Property Rights

The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) has tentatively approved about 90 rules for the state’s oil and gas industry. Do you think the commission has gone too far or not far enough?

After talking with individuals in the energy field and my own observations, I feel that the COGCC has taken the rules a little to the extreme. We all are concerned about our environment and wildlife here in northwest Colorado.

We are all concerned with our water quality and purity. And I feel the majority of the gas and oil companies are doing everything they can to meet those standards. With some of the rules that have already been put in place, some of the industry has already left northwest Colorado for states with less stringent regulations.

I believe that working together we can find a balance for Colorado to continue the production of our resources and keeping our economy strong and continue to protect our environment.

Garfield County already has about 5,000 active wells and it is expected that there will be about 1,000 new wells drilled in the county until 2015. That development is causing stress to the area’s infrastructure. How would you work toward assisting the county and northwest Colorado to pay for upgrades or rebuilding of area infrastructure like the Interstate 70 interchange?

We all have experienced the impacts on the infrastructures not only on I-70 but also on state highways as well as county roads and town streets. We have more people working in the impacted areas, which means we need more services to accommodate our increasing work force. What I would like to see is more of the severance taxes that leave the impacted counties and towns come back to the counties that are impacted to help with the infrastructure, whether it is roads, water treatment facilities, schools or helping in other areas of the communities. I have met with some of the towns Mayor’s and they have explained that some of the energy companies would consider to partner with the towns for infrastructure improvement such as the I-70 Interchange.

Name: Todd Hagenbuch

Age: 32

Political Affiliation: Democrat

Hometown: Phippsburg

Occupation: Rancher

Education: B.S. from Colorado State University in 1999. Expected to receive M.S from Regis University next summer.

What are the three most important issues Northwest Colorado faces?

1) Water quality and quantity on the West Slope

2) Responsible energy development

3) Forest management issues, especially in dealing with the bark beetle epidemic

The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) has tentatively approved about 90 rules for the state’s oil and gas industry. Do you think the commission has gone too far or not far enough?

The Commission seems to have done its best to strike a balance between concerns of energy development companies and the environmental community. While both sides would like to see changes to the rules, it is reasonable to believe that the rules receiving tentative approval can be lived with by both sides. I especially appreciate language in the rules that give surface owners additional rights.

Garfield County already has about 5,000 active wells and it is expected that there will be about 1,000 new wells drilled in the county until 2015. That development is causing stress to the area’s infrastructure. How would you work toward to assisting the county and northwest Colorado to pay for upgrades or rebuilding of area infrastructure like the Interstate 70 interchange?

If Amendment 58 passes, I would work to bring more of the monies received from the additional severance taxes back to the impacted communities of northwest Colorado. Because Amendment 58 is a statutory law, the disbursement formula is set by the legislature; sending representatives to the State House and State Senate that are willing to fight for additional funding for local projects is paramount should the ballot issue pass.

If Amendment 58 is defeated in November, I will work closely with local governments and the oil and gas companies to develop ways to pay for the impacts to our communities. There can be no shame in asking oil and gas developers to help pay for the impacts of their development, as there can be no shame in allowing them some say in how we work together for common solutions.


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