Colorado oil and gas industry overhaul bill becomes law |

Colorado oil and gas industry overhaul bill becomes law

Alex Zorn

Crews work a Cyclone Drilling operation in Garfield County in this 2016 file photo..
File/Cyclone Drilling

Gov. Jared Polis signed Senate Bill 181 on Tuesday, reshaping how the oil and natural gas industry is regulated in Colorado.

Supporters said the law brings much needed protections for Colorado’s booming population, its environment and its growing recreation industry.

Opponents warned the law could stifle a major industry, kill jobs and shrink tax revenue.

Many of those concerns come from Colorado’s Western Slope, and Garfield County in particular, which is the state’s second-largest oil and gas producing county to Weld County.

Garfield County commissioners had opposed the legislation, as had the West Slope Colorado Oil and Gas Association.

West Slope COGA Executive Director Eric Carlson stressed the importance of both sides working together to “develop final rules that can be achieved by the industry.”

“SB 181 is the most comprehensive oil and natural gas legislation Colorado has seen in decades,” Carlson said. “While we remain opposed to the legislation, we must work now through its complex suite of changes.”

Carlson said he hopes to see a stakeholder process that allows all impacted communities to have a voice in Colorado’s energy future.

“We are thankful with the outpouring of support expressed by West Slope elected officials, business associations, and the many citizens from all walks of life that stepped forward to express their concerns about how this legislation will impact their lives,” he said.

Meanwhile, members of two Garfield County conservation groups praised the bill’s final passage into law.

“We appreciate the hard work and determination of the Colorado legislators and Governor Polis that made this possible,” said Dave Devanney of Battlement Concerned Citizens. “We are looking forward to a new era of cooperation with the oil and gas industry to develop our valuable natural resources in a way that prioritizes public health and safety.”

Said Leslie Robinson of the Grand Valley Citizens Alliance, “Residents of Garfield County thank Governor Polis for making this long-awaited bill law. However, we must ensure the intent of the law is upheld through the rule-making process.”

The new regulatory measure was one of the main topics at the Energy and Environment Symposium held in Rifle on Wednesday and Thursday.

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