Every year, WSCC tracks statewide bills and works to organize our community around advocating for legislation that would improve the western slope of Colorado. It is important to follow and advocate for legislation at the state level, because it can have a lasting impact on our communities locally. This year, we have been tracking a number of bills we think will positively influence our landscapes. Sign our action alert below to send a letter to our legislators and ask them to support these important pieces of legislation.
Check out the information below on the state bills we are advocating to get passed
|State legislation bill number and title||The Issue||What this bill would do|
|HB22-1361: Oil And Gas Reporting||In January, 2020, the Office of the State Auditor released a severance taxes performance audit which found significant deficiencies in production reporting and enforcement structure resulting in a failure of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) to collect as much as $308 million in penalties for violations.||This bill would allow the COGCC, the Department of Revenue, and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to each collect industry-wide and random-sample data for the 2023 calendar year, allowing them to hold the oil and gas industry accountable.|
|SB22-138: Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions In Colorado||While the state has made some climate progress in sectors like electricity generation, transportation, and the oil and gas industry, we need to push ahead in the agriculture and carbon sequestration sector. This bill puts agriculture front and center in getting Colorado to achieve its statewide climate goals.||This bill would expand opportunities for Colorado farmers and ranchers to pursue “agrivoltaics” — developments that combine solar energy generation and agricultural production — or participate in carbon-offset programs. It would also add additional statewide emissions reductions goals to our current statewide climate plan|
|HB22-1244: Public Protections From Toxic Air Contaminants||Air toxics are substances that are known to cause cancer or other serious health effects. While the US Environmental Protection Agency has set health-based air quality standards for a few pollutants (think ozone and particulate matter), the EPA has not set health-based air quality standards for air toxics.||This bill would protect communities by setting up the new Colorado Air Toxics Program. It increases monitoring and reporting of toxic emissions to better understand exposure and public health risks throughout the state. Significantly, the bill also directs the state to set and enforce health-based ambient air quality standards for toxics of concern in Colorado.|
|SB22-151: Safe Crossings for Colorado Wildlife and Motorists||In Colorado, nearly 4,000 wildlife vehicle collisions (WVC) are reported each year, though it’s estimated that a more accurate figure is 14,100, given the number of unrecorded collisions. These WVCs have tragic consequences, including hundreds of human injuries and some fatalities, as well as the death of thousands of animals on roadways in our state. The annual cost of these devastating accidents is approximately $80 million in property damages, emergency response costs, medical treatments, and other costs. This figure does not include the value of lost wildlife—likely $24 million—or the impact on the health of wildlife populations.||This bill will create the Colorado Wildlife Safe Passages Fund to invest $25 million in measures to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions and reconnect habitat fragmented by roads. This includes projects identified in Colorado Department of Transportation’s 10-year pipeline of 25 projects with wildlife infrastructure components, as well as projects identified by the Colorado Wildlife & Transportation Alliance, state agencies, and county or tribal governments. The fund would also provide a much-needed source of matching funds to leverage myriad federal grant opportunities available in the new infrastructure law.|
|SB22-198: Orphaned Oil And Gas Wells Enterprise||There are nearly 20,000 low producing oil and gas wells across Colorado, many of which are on the precipice of being abandoned by their owners and left for taxpayers to clean-up. Operators have run these wells on the margins for decades, while damaging our environment and wildlife habitat and impacting the health and safety of communities. These wells account for an astonishing 40 percent of all the wells in the state of Colorado.||Thankfully, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) adopted new rules to hold industry accountable for cleaning up their mess by closing decades old loopholes exploited by industry and making industry pay up once and for all. These new rules incentivize industry to plug these wells once and for all and require them to pay an annual sum to the COGCC that is projected to raise $10 million per year. Combined with an additional $10 million in federal funding, the COGCC will see a four-fold increase in their orphan well plugging budget in 2023. We are want to ensure the COGCC is resourced to spend these dollars effectively and efficiently. SB 22-198 creates the “Orphan Well Enterprise” within COGCC to do just that.|