The oil and gas drilling rules that were established by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission have passed through the state House and as of today were initially passed by the state Senate (a committee, perhaps? the article doesn’t say). Final approval is still required by the full Senate and of course requires Governor Ritter’s signature.
From the Post article:
The Republicans hoped to increase certain protections for drinking water and to raise fines for some rules violations in exchange for stripping out a number of regulations.
Democrats summarily rejected the change, and, afterward, Republicans conceded the fight in the legislature is basically over.
Sen. Penry continues to project how the Cons operate:
“There are a lot of Democrats with reservations about this,” Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry, R-Grand Junction, asserted. “But they’re moving with lockstep discipline. They didn’t give an inch today.”
I certainly wouldn’t say Democrats ever move with lockstep discipline. These rules are two years in the making, coming after numerous public comment sessions and being watered down from their original state. Instead, a more appropriate story-line would be that the Cons’ 2009 session strategy of delay and distract ended up not waylaying these rules, at least up to this point.
Indeed, as johne demonstrated yesterday at SquareState, their distracting talking points haven’t stood up to the reality of the marketplace (what else is new?): as oil prices came off their record highs last summer, oil drillers found it wasn’t as profitable to keep drilling at the break-neck pace they had up until late last year.
This Denver Post article at least recognizes this:
Republicans say the rules also impose new costs on drilling companies, which have significantly scaled back their operations across the West in response to the flagging economy. Those costs could amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars extra per well, said Sen. Al White, R-Hayden.
Good – one article didn’t repeat the Cons’ lies. One small step at a time. As for the rest of that quote, what I wrote when the rules were about to clear the state House is still valid:
The truth is the fossil fuel drilling industry is scared of losing their stranglehold on uncontrolled drilling. They haven’t been faced with working with others before this and like other Cons are terrified of progress and inclusion.
The fossil fuel drilling industry has operated too long without reasonable restraint. If these rules are implemented and enforced (quite a different story altogether, unfortunately), Coloradans will be allowed to play on a field that’s a little more level. Hopefully news comes tomorrow that the full Senate voted for the rules.
Cross-posted at SquareState.