Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) signed S.B. 181, which imposes new restrictions on oil and gas activities in the state, into law on Apr. 16.
The measure was designed to strengthen local governments’ authority over such operations, its sponsors said when they introduced it on Mar. 1 (OGJ Online, Mar. 6, 2019). “Today, with the signing of this bill, it is our hope that the oil and gas wars that have enveloped our state are over, and the winner is all of us,” Polis said as he signed the bill 6 weeks later.
Colorado Oil & Gas Association Pres. Dan Haley said the new law is the most comprehensive oil and gas legislation Colorado has seen in decades. “While we appreciated and supported a few critical amendments that were added to address some of our concerns and that provide a degree of certainty for our member companies, we still oppose the legislation,” he said.
“I am encouraged by the governor’s comments about coming together as Coloradans and moving forward. To achieve that objective, it means removing politics from the technical process of providing energy to Coloradans,” Haley noted.
He said the law’s ultimate impact will be determined by many complicated rulemakings on both the state and local levels that could take years to complete. “We are committed to being an engaged stakeholder and constructively working with the governor’s administration to try and get it right,” Haley said.
Polis’s action making the bill law fundamentally alters the oil and gas industry’s future in the state, Colorado Petroleum Council spokesman Ben Marter said. “From the introduction of the measure early last month, our industry vigorously opposed the policy and the process. S.B. Bill 181 remains a threat to one of the foundations of Colorado’s economy,” Marter said.
He also expressed appreciation for legislative leaders’ statements regarding concerns of CPC, an American Petroleum Institute affilate, that the measure was being rushed into law without adequate public input.
“Colorado’s energy future is too important to be wielded as a partisan weapon, and all Coloradans deserve to know the consequences of this bill, both intended and unintended,” Marter said. “While Senate Bill 181 remains deeply flawed, Gov. Polis and state officials have pledged to work with industry to create a reasonable regulatory framework that works for all Coloradans, and we are committed to that process.”