Garfield County furthers interests on Colorado oil and gas matters |

Garfield County furthers interests on Colorado oil and gas matters

Alex Zorn

FILE - In this June 9, 2014 file photo, an oil and gas well pad and storage tanks sit below a home near New Castle, a small farming and ranching settlement on the Western Slope of the Rockies, in Colo. An energy industry group says proposed rules to give local governments a say in the location of new oil and gas wells go too far. The proposals would give local governments a consulting role in the location of large oil and gas facilities if they're near urban areas. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, file)

As proposed changes to Colorado’s oil and natural gas industry have just started to be discussed at the statewide level, the Garfield County commissioners affirmed their support for an industry that continues to be one of the county’s largest employers.

On Monday, the commissioners threw their support toward what’s called the Western States Tribal Nations Natural Gas Initiative. The effort essentially seeks to further explore the Jordan Cove terminal proposal in Oregon, as well as other proposals to expand markets for liquefied natural gas produced from northwest Colorado’s Piceance Basin.

“Glad to see the tribal nations are joining with this,” Commissioner Mike Samson said. “I share the feeling that we are seeing adversarial comments and legislation towards the natural gas industry on the state government level. I think that’s what has given this fuel to go forward.”

The initiative, commissioned by the Colorado Energy Office, the Utah Governor’s Office of Energy Development, as well as well other partners, seeks to identify the opportunities for regional natural gas development and the potential benefits from domestically produced natural gas.

It recommends the Western States and Tribal Nations form a non-profit entity to promote the utilization of the basin’s natural gas resources.

Samson said there is a lot of interest and support from throughout the state, nationwide and globally to try to facilitate and move forward the Jordan Cove project quickly.

Along with voicing their support towards the Jordan Cove project, the commissioners on Monday submitted official testimony urging Colorado’s state senators to hold off passing Senate Bill 181.

The bill, which passed from the state’s Senate Transportation & Energy Committee last week, seeks to give more authority to local governments in allowing oil and gas developments in their communities, as well as other changes to the state’s oil and gas policies and procedures.

“Colorado just voted to defeat Proposition 112, and now this legislation tries to achieve what 112 did not,” reads the commissioners’ written testimony to the Colorado Senate. “This bill is a direct assault on the oil and gas industry.”

The commissioners questioned the data used to present the bill, stating that Garfield County’s “robust industry emissions and air quality data,” which the county has invested millions of dollars in, has demonstrated consistently good air quality for Garfield County.

“Please consult competent data and studies to inform the legislation,” the county’s testimony reads.

The commissioners ratified the position statements at Monday’s regular Board of County Commissioners meeting held in Rifle.

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