Hickenlooper forms task force to address oil, gas siting questions

Colorado Gov. John W. Hickenlooper (D) announced that he has formed a task force to develop recommendations that would reduce land use conflicts when oil and gas facilities are located near homes, schools, businesses, and recreation areas.

He also said he would ask the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission to dismiss litigation challenging the city of Longmont’s ordinance banning hydraulic fracturing, and called on all parties to withdraw ballot initiatives on the topic.

“The work of this task force will provide an alternative to ballot initiatives that, if successful, would have regulated the oil and gas industry through the rigidity of constitutional amendments and posed a significant threat to Colorado’s economy,” Hickenlooper said on Aug 4 in Denver.

“This approach will put the matter in the hands of a balanced group of thoughtful community leaders, business representatives, and citizens who can advise the legislature and the executive branch on the best path forward,” he said.

The 18-member task force will be chaired by La Plata County Comm. Gwen Lachelt (D) and XTO Energy Inc. Pres. Randy Cleveland. It will have the power to make recommendations to Colorado’s legislature with a two-thirds majority, or issue majority and minority opinions, the governor said.

‘On equal footing’

“Today’s announcement is a victory for the people of Colorado and the movement to enact sensible fracing regulations,” said US Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), who also attended the press conference and previously backed two of the antifracing initiatives.

“For the first time, citizens will be on equal footing to the oil and gas industry, and able to negotiate directly for regulations that protect property rights, homes values, clean water, and air quality,” Polis said. “I am pleased that we were able to come together, and today’s agreement is meaningful progress toward sensible fracing regulations.”

The move was an apparent effort to quell dueling November ballot initiatives on fracing that potentially could have hurt Colorado Democrats’ two main statewide reelection efforts for Hickenlooper and US Sen. Mark Udall. Both are seeking second terms.

“From the beginning, I have pressed everyone involved to find a balanced way forward and to work toward a collaborative solution,” Udall said in an Aug. 4 statement issued by his campaign. “I am proud this engagement yielded results, and I applaud Gov. Hickenlooper and Congressman Polis for reaching this compromise.”

The senator said, “This deal, which averts a divisive and counterproductive ballot fight over one-size-fits-all restrictions, is welcome news and underscores how all of Colorado benefits when we find common ground.”

‘Cleared a path’

National, as well as Colorado, oil and gas organizations welcomed the news. “Short-sighted initiatives that threaten responsible energy production and undermine job creation do a disservice to Coloradans who want a more reasoned discussion,” American Petroleum Institute Pres. Jack N. Gerard said in Washington on Aug. 4.

“Today’s call could clear the path for a more balanced and inclusive conversation that will preserve Colorado’s leading role in America’s energy revolution, and we look forward to participating in that dialogue,” Gerard said.

Colorado Oil & Gas Association Pres. Tisha Schuller commended Hickenlooper for not giving up on trying to find a compromise. “By putting the state’s interests ahead of politics, [he] has a cleared a path for conversation and understanding, rather than fighting through talking points,” she said in Denver.

“These issues are complex and must include a wide range of stakeholders to find common ground with workable solutions,” Schuller said. “We are grateful that such a diverse group of stakeholders from around Colorado came to together to support the oil and gas industry, which is critical to overall economic health of our state.”

The Sierra Club’s Rocky Mountain Chapter was more cautious in its response. The Denver group previously endorsed Polis’s initiatives to limit fracing, and many of its members and supporters were collecting signatures for Initiatives 88 and 89, Chapter Director Joshua Ruschhaupt said in an Aug. 4 statement.

“The Sierra Club is currently reviewing the proposed ‘deal,’ and was not involved in negotiating it or asking Polis to drop his initiatives,” Ruschhaupt said. “If a stakeholder group is going to make legislative recommendations on oil and gas industry regulations, these recommendations must include protecting human health, safety, and welfare, as well as public lands and endangered species.”

He said, “We hope that oil and gas regulatory agencies and all stakeholder groups, including the one proposed, are transparent and open to public input and review. Bias that fosters an inherently damaging industry is not acceptable.”

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

Related Articles

WAFWA: Aerial survey finds lesser prairie chicken population grew

07/06/2015 A recent range-wide aerial survey found the lesser prairie chicken population rose 25% from 2014 to 2015, the Western Association of Fish & Wil...

Production ramps up from Sunrise oil sands project

07/06/2015 Husky Energy Inc., Calgary, reported that 25 well pairs are now on production at its Sunrise oil sands project in northeastern Alberta. Steaming is...

Buru awarded onshore Canning licenses

07/06/2015 Buru Energy Ltd., Perth, and Mitsubish Corp. have been granted two production licenses for Ungani oil field in the onshore Canning basin of Western...

Cenovus sells royalty business for $3.3 billion

07/06/2015 Cenovus Energy Inc., Calgary, inked an agreement to sell its wholly owned subsidiary Heritage Royalty LP to Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan for gros...

CERI: Energy, operational efficiencies possible in Canadian oil, gas

07/06/2015 Measures can be taken by operators in the expanding resource-intensive Canadian oil and gas sector to improve both energy efficiency and operationa...

AGL Energy to scale back upstream gas operations

07/06/2015

Gas retailer AGL Energy Ltd., Sydney, says it will exit the oil business and massively scaling back its upstream gas operations.

Macondo settlement seen ‘positive’ for BP

07/06/2015 BP Exploration & Production Inc.’s recent agreement to settle federal and state claims related to the 2010 Macondo blowout and spill improves t...

Court to EPA: Costs matter

07/06/2015 Oil and gas groups did not respond immediately when the US Supreme Court ruled on June 29 that the US Environmental Protection Agency acted unreaso...

Innovation addresses US environmental regulations; more needed

07/06/2015 Technology spawned the recent boom in US oil and gas production which in turn led to new regulations that keep the environment and people safe.
White Papers

2015 Global Engineering Information Management Solutions Competitive Strategy Innovation and Leadership Award

The Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognise companies in a variety of regional and global...
Sponsored by

Three Tips to Improve Safety in the Oil Field

Working oil fields will always be tough work with inherent risks. There’s no getting around that. Ther...
Sponsored by

Pipeline Integrity: Best Practices to Prevent, Detect, and Mitigate Commodity Releases

Commodity releases can have catastrophic consequences, so ensuring pipeline integrity is crucial for p...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Digital Asset Approach - Defining a new era of collaboration in capital projects and asset operations

There is constant, intensive change in the capital projects and asset life cycle management. New chall...
Sponsored by

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by

Asset Decommissioning in Oil & Gas: Transforming Business

Asset intensive organizations like Oil and Gas have their own industry specific challenges when it com...
Sponsored by

Squeezing the Green: How to Cut Petroleum Downstream Costs and Optimize Processing Efficiencies with Enterprise Project Portfolio Management Solutions

As the downstream petroleum industry grapples with change in every sector and at every level, includin...
Sponsored by

7 Steps to Improve Oil & Gas Asset Decommissioning

Global competition and volatile markets are creating a challenging business climate for project based ...
Sponsored by
Available Webcasts

On Demand

OGJ's Midyear Forecast 2015

Fri, Jul 10, 2015

This webcast is to be presented by OGJ Editor Bob Tippee and Senior Economic Editor Conglin Xu.  They will summarize the Midyear Forecast projections in key categories, note important changes from January’s forecasts, and examine reasons for the adjustments.

register:WEBCAST


Predictive Analytics in your digital oilfield - Optimize Production Yield and Reduce Operational Costs

Tue, Jul 7, 2015

Putting predictive analytics to work in your oilfield can help you anticipate failures, plan and schedule work in advance, eliminate emergency work and catastrophic failures, and at the same time you can optimize working capital and improve resource utilization.  When you apply analytic capabilities to critical production assets it is possible to reduce non-productive time and increase your yield.

Learn how IBM's analytics capabilities can be applied to critical production assets with the goal of reducing non-productive time, increasing yield and reducing operations costs.

register:WEBCAST


Cognitive Solutions for Upstream Oil and Gas

Fri, Jun 12, 2015

The oil & gas sector is under pressure on all sides. Reserves are limited and it’s becoming increasingly expensive to find and extract new resources. Margins are already being squeezed in an industry where one wrong decision can cost millions. Analyzing data used in energy exploration can save millions of dollars as we develop ways to predict where and how to extract the world’s massive energy reserves.

This session with IBM Subject Matter Experts will discuss how IBM Cognitive Solutions contribute to the oil and gas industry using predictive analytics and cognitive computing, as well as real time streaming for exploration and drilling.

register:WEBCAST


The Alternative Fuel Movement: Four Need-to-Know Excise Tax Complexities

Thu, Jun 4, 2015

Discussion on how to approach, and ultimately embrace, the alternative fuel market by pulling back the veil on excise tax complexities. Taxes may be an aggravating part of daily operations, but their accuracy is crucial in your path towards business success.

register:WEBCAST


Emerson Micro Motion Videos

Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected