Costs of SB19-181 Come Home To Roost

This bill, passed in 2019, prioritizes the protection of public safety, health, welfare, and the environment in the regulation of the oil and gas industry by modifying the oil and gas statutes and by clarifying, reinforcing, or establishing various aspects of local governments' regulatory authority over the surface impacts of oil and gas development. This bill is essentially a change of focus for the current laws concerning the regulation of the oil and gas industry, and expanding local governments' regulatory authority.

What gets lost in the verbiage is the complete makeover of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to weaken industry input, and expand the previous position of environmental expertise to multiple positions for soil conservation, wildlife, environment, and public health, and the commission will be full time paid positions starting July 1. Today, the Boulder Daily Camera article, "Polis Names Group to Oversee Rules" details that the Commission, formerly made up of volunteer members, now has 5 paid full time members, at a cost of $750,000/yr. It makes no sense to me why we now need full-time paid members of the commission since the bill just changes the emphasis from guidance of the industry to minimizing impacts of the industry, and actually increases the of power of local governments. It should be the local governments that would be taking on more costs.

Worse yet, the number of full time employees under the volunteer Commission was 7 in the 2019-2020 expenditures, for a total of about $960,000. With this new "professional" commission the number of full time employees is 16, with expenditures of about $2,500,000. And this during a time of drastic reductions in revenue because of the crashing of the economy by bureaucrats employing draconian shutdown policies that are of questionable value in combating the spread of Covid-19.

The governor and the Democrat legislative leaders continue to inexorably expand the bureaucracy with little thought for Coloradans. TABOR may limit what they can do to taxpayers, but there is no limit to what they can do with fees and more regulations.


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