Colorado lawmakers call oil, gas rules ‘unacceptable’ |

Colorado lawmakers call oil, gas rules ‘unacceptable’

Steven K. Paulson
The Associated Press
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

DENVER ” Republican and Democratic lawmakers sent Gov. Bill Ritter a strongly worded letter on Tuesday saying that proposed regulations for oil and gas production are “unacceptable” and would cripple the industry, which brings in $23 billion a year and employs 70,000 people in Colorado.

“We are gravely concerned that the draft rules will have a punitive impact on the industry at a time when already high energy prices are pinching Colorado’s working families like never before. As written, the draft rules are unacceptable,” said the letter, signed by nine Republicans and two Democrats from across the state.

The Associated Press obtained a copy of the letter.

One of the signers, Republican Rep. Cory Gardner of Yuma, said Ritter went beyond what lawmakers intended when he implemented two bills passed last year to tighten industry regulation.

One measure required more people from outside the oil and gas business to regulate the industry. The other required energy companies to use the best available technology to reduce the impact of exploration and drilling on wildlife and their habitat.

Lawmakers said the rules proposed by Ritter create new and unnecessary bureaucracy while opening the door to unprecedented legal challenges.

A spokesman for the governor’s office had no immediate comment.

Also signing the letter were Republican Reps. Josh Penry of Fruita, Jerry Sonnenberg of Sterling, Rob Witwer of Genesee, Frank McNulty of Highlands Ranch and Steve King of Grand Junction; Democratic Rep. Wes McKinley of Walsh; GOP Sens. Greg Brophy of Wray, Ted Harvey of Highlands Ranch and Jack Taylor of Steamboat Springs; and Democratic Sen. Jim Isgar of Hesperus.

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