Oil and Gas

As the oil and gas industry expands into our neighborhoods, we need safeguards in place to ensure we are putting people’s health and safety ahead of profits. To do this, we fight for commonsense measures to keep people safe and hold the industry accountable when accidents happen.

A Stranglehold on Colorado's Senate

This year conservation champions introduced several bills to make oil and gas operations safer:

  • HB 1071 would have changed the mission of Colorado’s Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to put health, safety, and the environment over industry profits.

  • HB 1157 would have increased the information that the industry tracks and reports all spills, fires, explosions, and injuries due to oil and gas operations.

  • HB 1419 was a bill to require oil and gas pipeline mapping and wellhead integrity procedures in order for state officials to help ensure community safety.

  • HB 1352 would have kept oil and gas drilling 1,000 feet away from school property boundaries instead of from school buildings, as the law currently states.

The debate over these important bills brought out a lot of emotions from Coloradans who came to the Capitol to testify in favor of them. In one powerful moment, a young activist spoke out when a legislator asked if oil and gas explosions have happened near schools, asking, “Why does it need to happen first?”

All of these bills were killed by Senate Republicans who continue to pander to oil and gas companies, reminding us of how important it is to elect more pro-conservation champions.

Bills Tracked

HB 1352, Oil And Gas Facilities Distance From School Property

Oil and gas operations are currently required to be 1,000 feet away from high occupancy buildings, such as schools and hospitals. Unfortunately, this distance begins from the school building and not the school property line. This bill would have clarified that oil and gas facilities must be 1,000 feet away from a school’s property boundary to protect playgrounds and sports fields, closing a loophole that puts children at risk.

Pro-Environment Vote: YES

Bill Sponsors: Representatives Mike Foote and Matt Gray, Senators Matt Jones and Irene Aguilar

House Vote: Passed 35-29

Senate: Failed in State Affairs Committee

HB 1419, Oil & Gas Operator Disclosures and Wellhead Integrity

In the spring of 2017, odorless gas leaking from an abandoned flow line led to a home explosion in Firestone, Colorado, where two people lost their lives. This bill sought to update state rules by requiring oil and gas companies to disclose the locations of the pipelines and flowlines they install, own, or operate to the state agency and affected local governments. Additionally, it would have prompted the state to develop rules around wellhead integrity to better protect against future accidents and explosions.

Pro-Environment Vote: YES

Bill Sponsors: Representatives Mike Foote and Dominique Jackson, Senators Matt Jones and John Kefalas

House Vote: Passed 35-29

Senate: Failed in State Affairs Committee

HB 1157, Increased Reporting of Oil & Gas Incidents

In order to ensure the safety of our communities, we need thorough tracking and reporting of spills, fires, explosions, injuries, and deaths due to oil and gas activities. This bill would have improved reporting requirements, creating better oversight around accidents and instituting a structured reporting format.

Pro-Environment Vote: YES

Bill Sponsors: Representatives KC Becker and Jonathan Singer, Senator Stephen Fenberg

House Vote: Passed 34-29

Senate: Failed in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Energy Committee

SB 192, Local Government Liable for Fracking Ban Oil & Gas Moratorium

Local governments in Colorado have the ability to enact certain rules to regulate the oil and gas industry. This bill, however, would have made local governments financially liable to oil and gas operators for rules or regulations that curtailed oil and gas development in any way, thereby preventing the right of local governments to make decisions about oil and gas operations that affect their own communities.

Pro-Environment Vote: NO

Bill Sponsors: Senator Vicki Marble, Representative Perry Buck

Senate Vote: Passed 19-16

House: Failed in State Affairs Committee

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