Does Colorado Have Too Many Gas Bills?

Club 20, a Western Slope lobbying group and Colorado Oil and Gas Association, a trade group that promotes the industry, have something in common. Both organizations say there are an over-abundance of gas bills in the legislature. In a March 12th letter to Governor Ritter covering several issues, Club 20 Executive Director, Reeves Brown wrote:

We would like to also take this opportunity to voice our concern about the number of proposals which have surfaced in the current legislate e session to place additional burdens (both financial and regulatory) on the energy industry which we depend on to develop Colorado’s rich energy reserves….we are concerned that the CUMULATIVE effect of the many pieces of proposed legislation may place such a burden on industry so as to hinder the development of the resource and effectively kill the “goose” that’s laying the golden egg!…(emphasis copied from letter.)

Lobbyist and former Mesa County Commissioner, Kathy Hall–who also provides consulting services to COGA–was chair person of Club 20 last year.

In another letter to Gov. Ritter, COGA happened to mirror Club 20’s complaint about the number of bills targeting oil and gas. From the article in the Post Independent, Donna Gray reported:

In a letter to Ritter, Colorado Oil and Gas Association (COGA) President Ted Brown said the group believes “the patchwork of competing legislation” is the wrong approach and there is a need to bring industry and other stakeholders together to develop a statewide energy development plan. “Someone needs to calculate the consequences of all these bills,” said COGA Executive Director Greg Schnacke. “An industry of this size is not something you can just turn on its head in six weeks.”

Energy reform needs to be considered and not pushed through “in quick fashion that creates this huge impact on industry,” which could cause companies to pull back on development and thereby affect the amount of severance tax revenue the state receives, he said.

In a similar article in the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, Mike Saccone wrote:

Marc Smith, executive director of the Independent Petroleum Association of Mountain States, said he is concerned that the “backlash against big oil” occurring in Colorado and other Western states will do the most harm to the independent drillers that his organization represents….

Sen. Josh Penry, R-Fruita, said without this type of a review, conflicting bills might become law, effectively painting the energy industry into a regulatory corner.

In the Post Independent story, Rep. Kathleen Curry expressed no remorse for the number of bills targeting the oil and gas industry.

Rep. Kathleen Curry (D-Gunnison), who is sponsoring the majority of the reform bills, said there is no need to delay or prevent the legislation from taking its course.

“I don’t think it’s necessary. I don’t think it will expose anything we don’t already know,” she said.

In previous years, Democratic legislators have tried to present oil and gas regulatory bills, but very few ever got out of committee. Then there was always the threat that any bills targeting the oil and gas industry would have been vetoed anyway by Gov. Bill Owens, a former oil and gas lobbyist.

There are six energy reform bills pending in or have passed through the House:

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