Download Word Doc here: Audubon Legislative Report
AUDUBON LEGISLATIVE REPORT
6 February, 2020
We are about a month into the legislative session, and the action is heating up. Several early bills are already decided, and new bills will continue to come in at a rapid pace. We are approaching the most intense part of the session, and things can move very fast! It promises to be an exciting ride, and we can expect some procedural shenanigans, though hopefully not as painful as last year!
*HB1070 OIL AND GAS TAKINGS (Buck)
Position: Oppose Status: Dead
This was the fourth or fifth year for this bill. It required local governments to compensate the oil and gas industry for any claimed loss of value as a result of hydraulic fracturing bans or limitations. We have fought regulatory takings bills for over 30 years. Apparently we will have to continue fighting them in perpetuity. Fortunately, however, this bill died quickly in its first committee.
*HB1157 EXPAND ISF LEASING (Roberts/Donovan)
Position: Support Status: House Rural Affairs & Agriculture (2/10)
HB1157 is our instream flow bill that was unexpectedly derailed last year. There are several tweaks from last year. Most notably, a prohibition on using the program for more than three consecutive years; and a requirement that expedited or “emergency” loans can only be used for one year before the applicant must comply with the more exhaustive administrative regulations of the leasing statute. Audubon’s top priority – in Committee Monday Feb. 10. ! Western Rivers Action Network director Abby Burke will testify for Audubon.
*HB1037 AUGMENTATION WATER FOR INSTREAM FLOW (Arndt/Coram)
Position: Support Passed the House, now in Senate Agriculture Comm.
HB1037 is a rerun from last year. The bill permits the CWCB to use water for instream flow purposes, if the water has been decreed for augmentation without seeking a further change of use. This would create a new pool of water, with lower administrative costs, which could be available for instream use. Primarily aimed at restoring stream health on the Ft. Collins River Walk.
*HB1095 WATER PLAN ELEMENTS IN MASTER PLANS (Arndt/Bridges)
Position: Support Status: House Floor
HB1095 authorizes a local government master plan to include goals specified in the state water plan and to include policies that condition development approvals on implementation of those goals. This should pass the House shortly.
*SB8 INCREASE PENALTIES FOR WATER QUALITY VIOLATIONS (Winter/Jackson)
Position: Support Status: Senate Agriculture Comm.
SB8 doubles the penalties CDPHE can assess for violations of water quality standards. It’s been several years since penalties were updated, and in some cases, violators are beginning to view fines as merely a cost of business. Doubling them is intended to return them to being an actual deterrent. Possibly won’t receive consideration until after the state Budget is passed.
*SB48 STRENGTHEN ANTISPECULATION (Donovan, Roberts)
Position: Support Status: House Rural Affairs & Ag. Comm.
Colorado water law prohibits speculation (gambling on future needs in order to profit from water use). Unfortunately there have been several applications for water rights over the years which are speculative in nature. SB48 requires the Director of DNR to convene a work group to explore ways to strengthen the anti speculation doctrine. The group is to report recommended changes to the legislature by August, 2021. This passed the Senate quickly, should pass the House quickly also.
*HB1126 STATE APPROVE OIL/GAS (Saine/Marble)
Position: Oppose Status: House Energy & Environment Comm. (2/10)
HB1126 turns the recent changes to oil/gas policies upside down. The bill requires that if any local government approves development of oil/gas facilities, the State must immediately follow suit, and permit the facility as well. Will be heard in Committee on Monday Feb. 10; hopefully will not pass. Jen will be testifying.
*SB10 REPEAL BAN ON LOCAL REGULATION OF PLASTICS (Donovan/Froelich)
Position: Support Status: Dead
SB10 merely eliminates the existing prohibition against local governments regulating the use of plastics. Voted down 3-2 in Senate Local Govt. Committee. There are two other plastics bills, see below.
HB1172 NO ABANDONMENT FOR EFFICIENCY – NEW (Arndt)
Position: Support Status: House Rural Affairs & Environment Comm.
HB1172 protects water rights owners from claims of abandonment for 20 years if they reduce their water demand due to improved efficiency. The intent is to encourage more efficient delivery practices, such as lining ditches. Often, users are reluctant to invest in such large scale efficiency measures, as they may not work, and they risk the value of their water right by using less water. The bill allows a twenty year period to determine if the efficiency measures are functional and adequate. If you don’t use, you won’t lose.
SB121 MANAGE WOLVES NEW (Donovan)
Position: Amend? Monitor? Status: S-Agriculture & Nat. Resources
SB121 directs DNR to develop a management plan for gray wolves. The bill further directs the department to develop a schedule for. And begin a reintroduction program before the end of 2025. EXCEPT: reintroduction is delayed until a new source of revenue is developed for payment of wolf damage claims; AND reintroduction is canceled if the population becomes self sustaining first. Further, the bill makes damage payments only available to commercial livestock operators. Many environmental groups and livestock growers are opposed to this bill. If the ballot initiative passes it will supersede this bill; however the Legislature would have to pass implementation measures and find the money for compensating livestock owners if wolves kill livestock. Such a measure would look like this bill.
HB1072 WATER MGT EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES (Arndt/Sonnenberg)
Position: Support Status: House Appropriations Comm.
HB1072 requires CU to study emerging technologies such as telemetry, advanced aerial observation (drones), and blockchain (an un-hackable storage mechanism) for their potential value in improving the efficiency of water management.
HB1180 POLLINATOR PROTECTION (Kipp/Fields)
Position: Support New Priority Bill Status: H-Energy & Environment Comm.
HB1180 requires the Commissioner of Agriculture to ban the use of neonictinoids and sulfoximines in outdoor pesticide applications. The bill permits the use of both substances in indoor applications, and for pet or personal pesticide protection. Should future compounds be developed which are equally effective, the bill allows the commissioner to ban the remaining uses at that time.
SB69 PARKS PASSES FOR DISABLED VETS (Garcia)
Position: Support Status: Senate Floor
Current law allows disabled veterans with a disabled vets license plate to have free access to state parks. SB69 allows disabled Veterans to have that access by providing the documentation necessary for a license plate, but without the extra step of having to acquire the plate.
SB24 PUBLIC INPUT ON DEMAND MANAGEMENT (Coram/Arndt)
Position: Monitor Status: Dead
SB24 requires CWCB and the interim water committee to host public input sessions similar to the process for developing the Water Plan before adopting any rules or recommendations regarding Demand Management. While Public input is nearly always a positive, the process could delay implementation of demand management strategies for up to a year. Additionally, Demand Management proposals will likely be the result of interstate negotiations, and adding a requirement for public input could have a deleterious effect on the final product- especially if implementation is time sensitive. This bill stems from the realization by all parties that there isn’t enough Colorado River water to meet all current or future demands, so methods of sharing will have to be determined.
HB1097 MUNICIPAL USE WITHOUT CHANGE (Young, Arndt)
Position: Support Status: House-Rural Affairs & Ag. Comm.
HB1097 is a highly technical bill, but in a nutshell it allows cities, in certain circumstances, to use water decreed for municipal use in different locations without going through a change case.
SB3 LOVE OUR PARKS (Garcia/Esgar)
Position: Support Status: Senate Appropriations Comm.
SB3 provides $10M for development of infrastructure; primarily for opening the new State Park at Fisher Peak. There is some debate about where the $$ will come from.
HB1159 SEO CONFIRM WATER USE BEFORE ISF (Roberts/Donovan)
Position: Monitor Status: House Rural Affairs & Agriculture Comm.
Current law specifies that the Colorado water conservation board’s appropriation of water for instream flow purposes is subject to existing uses and exchanges of water. HB1159 is a bill that the River District has been working on for most of the last year. It requires the state engineer to confirm existing claims of use or exchange if the claims have not already been confirmed through decree.
HB1162 STYROFOAM BAN New Priority Bill (Cutter/Foote)
Position: Support Status: House Energy & Environment Comm.
HB1162 bans the use of polystyrene (Styrofoam) in to-go containers at retail food establishments. Includes all restaurants and ready-to-eat containers at grocery stores.
HB1004 WILDFIRE MITIGATION EDUCATION GRANTS (Cutter/Lee)
Position: Monitor Status: House Finance Comm.
HB1004 creates a grant program to provide education to landowners about existing resources available for wildfire mitigation on their properties. It is harmless as introduced, but bears watching for amendments that could be problematic, such as clear cutting or “logging for water”.
HB1163 BAN SINGLE USE PLASTIC (Valdez/Gonzales)
Position: Monitor Status: House Energy & Environment Comm.
HB1167 creates a statewide ban on single use plastic bags (the ones from the grocery store and similar places), straws, stirrers, and polystyrene (styrofoam) to go containers. It also imposes a minimum fee of ten cents per bag for paper bags; and requires compliance by 2021. Doesn’t include anything medical, produce bags in grocery stores, film wrapping oon meat. The store keeps the fee except where local government has set up a method to distribute the funds from the fee.
HB1018 RENEWABLE NATURAL GAS STANDARD (Sen. Hansen)
Position: Monitor Status: House Energy & Environment Comm.
HB1018 requires the PUC to promulgate rules for utility use on “Renewable Natural Gas”. The bill defines RNG as biogas, biogas blends, hydrogen gas from renewable sources, and captured methane from a variety of non fossil sources. This bill is tangential at best, but there is some possibility for nefarious language changes that could impact water quality. It would be unlikely, but the bill still warrants our keeping tabs on it.
HB1045 ENERGY EFFICIENCY PROGRAM FUNDING (Kennedy, Hansen)*
Position: Monitor Status: House Energy & Environment Comm. HB1045 creates a formula for disbursement of State funds between two different low income assistance funds when there is less than $1M available for the programs from severance tax. Our only concern is the possibility for dangerous amendments.
HB1087 CPW PENALTY CLEANUP (Will)
Position: Monitor Status: Passed House, now to Senate
HB1087 is a cleanup of vague or obsolete language in the CPW wildlife violation statutes. It is largely nonsubstantive. The only piece that may be a bit controversial is removal of mandatory enhanced penalties for trophy poaching (Samson law). The enhanced penalties would be optional.
HB1164 NO TAP FEES FOR HOUSING AUTHORITY (Rich/Zenzinger)
Position: Monitor Status: House Transportation & Local Govt.
HB1164 exempts housing authorities from tap fees imposed by a conservancy district. Housing authorities are generally associated with affordable housing, and the bill is very specific that only tap fees imposed by a conservancy district are included in the exemption.
SB41 FREE PARKS PASS FOR NATIONAL GUARD (Cooke, Beckman)
Position: Monitor Status: Senate Appropriations
SB41 allow active members of the National Guard to receive free annual passes for State Parks; as long as the loss of revenue to CPW is backfilled by the legislature. If that piece is removed, we might want to revisit our position.
BILLS THAT ARE IMMINENT:
HBxxxx REPEAL BAN ON LOCAL REGULATION OF PESTICIDES
Position: Support Status: Waiting for Intro
This bill will eliminate the existing ban on local government implementing more stringent regulations on pesticide usage. Allowing local governments to be more stringent can significantly improve water quality in individual areas. The bill, however, will leave the state preemption in place specifically for use of pesticides on marijuana. Will be an Audubon priority bill.