I’m writing to urge you to vote yes on the Protect Public Welfare Oil and Gas Operations Act, SB19-181, without amendments that weaken its strong reform provisions. We must change the makeup and the mandate of the COGCC to prioritize public health and safety and the environment, and we must allow Colorado communities to restrict hazardous drilling operations as they see fit, as provided for in the bill.
However, the subjective language used in some key provisions of the current bill opens the door for pro-drilling administrations to approve too many permits, in places where hazardous extraction operations should never occur. The bill must explicitly require that drilling be kept away from homes and schools, and that permits be reduced overall, in order to protect our air, water, and climate.
I urge you to strengthen and clarify the language of the bill to assure that the COGCC will not be allowed to approve more neighborhood drilling, regardless of decisions made by the local government. Residents in Broomfield and Erie have recently found it necessary to sue their local governments for approving new drilling against the expressed will of voters and community members. It’s up to you, the legislators, to explicitly require the intended outcomes, rather than rely on bodies that generally support more drilling to do the job.
Furthermore, the bill summary language suggests that SB19-181, if adopted, would suspend permitting until the required rulemaking process is complete, but the statutory language in Section 11(III)(A) merely gives the COGCC director discretion to deny permits, case by case, during the rulemaking period. Please amend the bill to correct the statutory language, so that it expressly suspends permitting until rulemaking is promulgated.
Thank you for supporting the health and safety of Coloradans and protecting our climate,
-Lauren Swain, firstname.lastname@example.org