7/29 APCD EARLY STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT OPPORTUNITY

The Air Pollution Control Division (Division) is holding the first of several public meetings to engage stakeholders on potential revisions to the Air Quality Control Commission’s Regulations Number 3 and 7, addressing ozone, greenhouse gas (GHG) and more. Note that this is the Division’s first step of many to come in addressing recent legislation in Colorado.
The Division will identify the goals behind a potential rulemaking, identify timing, and then share an overview of potential rule revisions and emission reduction strategies relating to:
  • Early permitting of oil and gas exploration and production facilities
  • State Implementation Plan (SIP) reasonably available control technologies (RACT) requirements for major sources (those having a permit to emit 50 tons per year or more) of VOC and/or NOx in the Denver Metro/North Front Range
  • SIP streamlining revisions
  • Recent revisions to Colorado Revised Statute (CRS) Section 24-7-109 (SB 19-181 concerning emissions control for oil and gas operations)
Meeting
Date: July 29, 2019

Time: 2:00 to 7:00 P.M.
Location: CDPHE, Sabin and Cleere rooms
4300 Cherry Creek Drive South
Denver, Colorado 80246

Each person interested in attending and/or providing public comment is requested to register in advance, as space is limited to 120 persons.
Comments may also be submitted to cdphe.commentsapcd@state.co.us, Subject: Fall 2019 Rulemaking. An agenda, with adobe connect link, and concept document will be provided to those who registered prior to the meeting.

Former Gov. John Hickenlooper Apologizes for Non-Consensual Fracking, Seeks Treatment

Hick

Former Gov. John Hickenlooper held a press conference this morning to express his solemn regrets for fracking Colorado neighborhoods without the consent of those being fracked.  He admitted that he has been seeking treatment for methane addiction and swore that he would do everything in his power to avoid making communities uncomfortable with his oil and gas advances in the future.

(Happy April Fool’s Day from The Mind’s Eye!)

Save money, pass SB19-181

To the Colorado Senate Finance Committee:

The state of Colorado will prosper if SB-181 passes and will suffer financially and in countless other ways if it fails to pass.
We must pass this bill or increasing numbers of wells will continue to be permitted in and near our communities without regard to local zoning provisions and without the new emission-control provisions of the bill. Continuing permitting under current laws will expose more Coloradans to dangerous levels of ozone pollution and air toxins from production emissions and truck traffic. It is well documented that such exposure will contribute to more health problems, including asthma attacks. Treating those health problems will be very costly to Medicaid and other state health programs and to employers whose workers will miss work taking care of themselves or their sick children. We need a healthy population to have a healthy economy, and we need to reform our oil and gas laws to maintain a healthy population.
Furthermore, without passage of SB-181, increasing amounts of residential drilling will degrade the value of Colorado real estate, reducing property tax revenue and increasing the burden on social programs.
Most obviously, without the protections provided by SB-181, the industry itself will not be required to pay appropriately for the costs of inspections, regulation, reclamation, and other fiscal impacts. Current bonding requirements in particular are far below what is required to properly reclaim drilling sites. Without passage of SB-181, taxpayers will be left with the bill to reclaim thousands of wells, while the industry either moves on to greener pastures or continues to fall into increasing debt due to price suppression resulting from continued overproduction and the depletion of the resource itself.
Many ignore another obvious benefit of slowing down the permitting process in favor of health and safety – more of the resource itself will be available for future generations to use and profit from. Less production is likely to mean less waste, and a higher price for the product in the long run.
And of course, slowing down production by prioritizing health and safety will give us more time to resolve the climate crisis and switch to a renewable energy economy. That will mean Colorado has a greater chance of avoiding the catastrophic economic costs of the increasingly severe droughts, fires, floods that will accompany the climate disruption caused by current levels of production and consumption of oil and gas.
We can and must do better. Please pass SB-181 to put Colorado on the right path to economic progress and reduce our dependence on risky fossil fuel production.
-Lauren Swain, video@mindseyeworld.com

To the Committee re: SB19-181

Dear Senators of the Transportation and Energy Committee,
In order to update our laws in a manner that responsibly represents the public interest in the governance of oil and gas operations in our state, I urge you 1) to support the Protect Public Welfare Oil and Gas Operations Act, SB19-181, 2) to hold the bill hearing, as scheduled, on March 5 at 2pm, 3) and to pass the measure without amendments that weaken its strong reform provisions.

Colorado’s regulation of oil and gas operations must adequately mitigate the inevitable risks and impacts associated with this growing industry, and must address the increasingly conflicting land uses at the local level. This bill will accomplish those ends by changing the makeup and the mandate of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, (COGCC), to prioritize public health and safety and the environment, and by allowing Colorado communities to enhance regulation of drilling operations as they see fit.

To reach the above-stated goals, there are several provisions of the bill that should be strengthened through amendments. The subjective language of some key provisions in the current bill opens the door for future administrations and agencies to approve too many permits, and to approve drilling and hydraulic fracturing in places where hazardous extraction operations should never occur.
The language of the bill must assure that the COGCC cannot approve drilling in and near neighborhoods, regardless of decisions made by the local government. Please bear in mind that the residents of 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.
Reform legislation such as this will only succeed if lawmakers clearly describe, in the statutory language itself, the parameters under which our state agencies should operate. Therefore, the bill must explicitly require that drilling not be permitted near homes and schools, and that the COGCC reduce the number of new wells approved overall, to provide safer air, water, and climate to the people of our state.
A major point of this legislation is to update our state’s rules, and for that to have the intended effect, we must suspend permitting under the old rules until the new rules are promulgated. Please resolve the conflict between the provisions of Section 11 as described in the bill summary vs. in the statutory language itself. The bill summary language states that SB19-181, if adopted, would suspend permitting until the required rulemaking process is complete, (with an opt-out for the director of the COGCC); but the statutory language in Section 11(III)(A) only gives the COGCC director discretion to deny permits, case by case, during the rulemaking period. Please amend the bill to correct the statutory language.
Thank you for your time and consideration and for supporting the health and safety of Coloradans,
Lauren Swain
Lauren Swain, Producer
Mind’s Eye Productions
Health, Climate, and Human Rights Advocate and Activist
video@mindseyeworld.com
(303) 887-5951

Sample Message to Legislators supporting the Protect Public Welfare Oil And Gas Operations Act, SB19-181

Dear ________(Legislator),

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, video@mindseyeworld.com

Quick Assessment/Overview of SB 19-181, Protect Public Welfare Oil And Gas Operations, as introduced in the Colorado Legislature on March 1, 2019.

The first committee hearing is being held 2pm Tues March 5, share the Facebook event page here.  More details here, watch for schedule changes.

A Quick Assessment/Overview:

     SB 19-181 is an assertive, critically-needed bill that provides for local rights to restrict drilling without threat of state preemption-based lawsuits against communities. IMO, we must all do what we can to assure its passage without amendments weakening its most important provisions. In addition to local rights to elevate protections from the industry, the bill provides for rigorous new COGCC rulemaking based on the prioritization of health, safety, and environment, and requires majority assent before forced-pooling could take place, once implemented.
     There is  conflict between the language in the summary and the statute itself about whether or not permitting would be allowed to proceed before the new rulemaking  – outlined here. Furthermore, a great deal of the success of this bill as written will depend on the will of the COGCC, and the director in particular. The subjective language could easily allow hostile administrations and the COGCC to undermine key reforms, but the language does at least provide greatly-improved grounds for future lawsuits, should they prove necessary.  Also, despite the bill’s importance and strengths, we must acknowledge that it ignores the Colorado Democratic Party’s expressed policy supporting a 2500′ minimum statewide setback. Find the CDP oil and gas platform provisions here.
     Furthermore, the bill may fail to reduce the overall number of wells approved by the COGCC and therefore might not go far enough to guarantee that Colorado will not continue to emit more and more climate disruptive GHGs and air pollution, which are already undermining our future at precipitous rates.
     However, in spite of these uncertainties and omissions, there are no two ways about it. This bill MUST PASS without destructive amendments, first and foremost. It will take everyone’s commitment to action and advocacy to optimize our chances of success.  Please reach out to your networks to inform and empower everyone to contact legislators to encourage the passage of the strongest bill possible.
Find your legislators contact information here.