Preemption of Local Control Over Oil and Gas; Senate Bill 088 – DEFEATED

This bill was up for Committee hearing Thursday, Feb. 16, and was defeated. Below is information given prior to Feb. 16.

The bill specifies that the regulation of oil and gas operations is a matter of statewide concern, the Colorado oil and gas conservation commission has exclusive jurisdiction to regulate oil and gas operations, and local regulation of oil and gas operations is preempted by state law.

Click here to view SB 12 088_01_Preemption

What you can do:

  • Write/email the Local Government Committee members (see addresses below, down further on the page are some suggested talking points)
  • Attend the hearing (down further on the page are some helpful guidelines for speaking):

Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012
Capitol Building, Senate Committee, Room 353
Est. time: 9:15 and 9:45

Senate Local Government Committee Members:

JOYCE FOSTER, Chair
Capitol Phone: 303-866-4875 <tel:303-866-4875>
E-Mail: joyce.foster.senate@state.co.us <mailto:joyce.foster.senate@state.co.us>

JEANNE NICHOLSON, Vice Chair
Capitol Phone: 303-866-4873 <tel:303-866-4873>
E-Mail: jeanne.nicholson.senate@state.co.us

IRENE AGUILAR, MD

Capitol Phone: 303-866-4852 <tel:303-866-4852>
E-Mail: irene.aguilar.senate@state.co.us

Tim Neville

Capitol Phone: 303-866-4859 <tel:303-866-4859>
E-Mail: tim@nevilleforcolorado.com

ELLEN ROBERTS

Capitol Phone: 303-866-4884 <tel:303-866-4884>
E-Mail: ellen.roberts.senate@state.co.us

Arguments against Senate Bill 008

It isn’t within our interests as citizens of this state to cede local rights, inalienable rights of residents, rights to be represented, rights of each local government to decide land use however it sees fit. It isn’t the states job to be meddling in local affairs to determine the character of their towns/counties.

Each city because of its unique characteristics has a right to decide, in regards to gas & oil exploration, the financial, environmental, safety and welfare implications on the city and regulate and manage that exploration as it sees fit to maintain the integrity of the city’s vision of its character. It is unfair to force a city to have an industry within its bounds without the ability to control the impacts that industry has on its infrastructure (for example, damaged roads, taxed water treatment facilities, ramped up emergency response services, reduced air quality, reduced property value of parks to the community and for events, damage to city in marketing itself for new business and tourism).

The SB 12 088 rule, that would extinguish local govt ability to run their towns and counties as their residents desire, would permit oil companies to take over their towns with 24/7 tanker truck convoys, lights, sound, toxic emissions and toxic spills and accidents of the heavy industrial process of horizontal fracking. Municipalities take for granted their ability through zoning and planning to protect areas of its city from industrialization (gas stations, cement plants). This law would unfairly give a specific industry carte blanche to do business anywhere, as well as set a precedence for other highly industrial businesses to demand that they be given the same carte blanche and demand that cities not be allowed to control where it is appropriate for them do business within city limits.

Legislative Dos and Don’ts

(from the Sierra Club, Angela Medbery)

As a private landowner, renter, interested person, organizational rep you may testify at any single committee hearing you wish.  You may also speak to, write (I prefer postal cards for short notes), telephone, e-mail your own legislators.  Never use an organizations name without their permission.  In fact, it may be more powerful to just represent yourself as an individual.

The committee meeting times are publicized.  About 5 minutes before the meeting starts the committee staffer enters the room and you can sign up to testify.  You give your name, address, bill number of interest and whether you support or oppose.  Testimony time is generally limited to a short time period.  I have seen 2-minute testimony times when we fill the room with 50 folks on our side (we lost).  I have seen the time at 5 minutes or at the will of the committee chair.  Sometimes questions are asked of the person giving testimony, sometimes not.

It is good to sit in on the committee hearings.  You hear a lot of strange stuff.  Yes, it is okay to testify if you have something to say.  You may want to have information on hard copy for the committee members.  Keep it short and have and have one copy for each committee member and one for the staffer.  It is best to be positive in what you are saying, using conciliatory language instead of accusatory words.  Be friendly and smile.

You can register in the House minority office (2nd floor between the elevators) as a ‘volunteer lobbyist".  This permits you to speak to legislators who are not your own.  It also permits you to testify in front of several different committees.  You can pick up the info on volunteer lobbyists in the House Minority office.  Perhaps it is on the Internet.  It is free to be a volunteer lobbyist.  You need only register.  Paid lobbyists have to file all sorts of reports with the Secretary of State.

Basically it is helpful if you comb your hair, do not talk to loudly, pause and let them make comments or ask questions or even disagree with you.  Sometimes a legislator will bait you to see how fanatical you are.  Don’t take the bait.  The times I was naively successful, our group took around a one pager with the points we considered important and just said something like “We want a yes vote on HB….. and hope you will support the bill."  That works as a short committee testimony as well.