Tuesday, April 5, 2011
As amended by the committee, House Bill 1223, sponsored by Rep. Ray Scott, R-Grand Junction, expands the commission from nine to eleven members and adds a requirement that members represent a greater degree of expertise in certain aspects of the oil and gas industry.
Scott said the adjustment is necessary in light of a previous change made in 2007, when the number of members on the commission was expanded from seven to nine. The 2007 legislation added the executive directors of the Departments of Public Health and Environment and Natural Resources as ex officio voting members at the behest of the administration of then-Gov. Bill Ritter.
“It’s imperative that we have the right people for the job and right now that’s not the case,” said Scott.
The commission, which issues drilling permits, plays a pivotal role in regulating oil and gas exploration in the state. Scott said that he has seen data that shows a loss of close to $500 million per year in severance taxes due to reduced energy exploration under the current commission’s lineup. Segments of the oil and gas industry are leaving for greener pastures, said Scott.
“We have to be prepared for the direction of energy in the future,” said Scott. “We are in competition with other states and if we don’t do the right thing—we’ll lose out. This bill will bring jobs back to Colorado.”
Rep.Don Coram, R-Montrose, who owns mines and does mine reclamation work, said that a board that is more knowledgeable about the industry it is regulating can make the right decisions.
“We assume that if you are an oil and gas person, you can’t be an environmentalist. I am in the industry and I am an environmentalist,’” said Coram.
The commission’s members are appointed by the governor within parameters set by law. HB1223 would change the parameters to require the commission to include:
Three members from the Western Slope, with at least one member with substantial experience in the oil and gas industry;
* One member from the Eastern Slope, with substantial experience in the oil and gas industry;
* Five members total with substantial experience in the oil and gas industry. Two of those five with a degree in petroleum geology or engineering; one member with training or substantial experience in environmental or wildlife experience; one member with training or substantial experience in soil conservation or reclamation; and a member engaged in agricultural production who is a royalty owner;
* The executive directors of the Departments of Public Health and Environment and Natural Resources would become ex-officio, non-voting members.
Via - Colorado News Agency
Posted by Politics Colorado at 10:35 AM