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Rep. Scott to Gov. Hickenlooper: Let’s fix oil-and-gas panel

Posted by Kelly Maher on May 31st, 2011
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A proposal to add two more positions, to be filled by industry experts, to the current nine-member Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission died in the state Senate earlier this month. We interviewed the bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Ray Scott, R-Grand Junction, back in April when it looked like it might get traction. HB-1223, which would have also had the heads of two state departments become non-voting members of the commission, passed the GOP-led House but died in the Democratic-controlled state Senate.

I caught up with Scott recently to ask what went wrong…

“Well, what we think happened was that there was a phone call from the governor’s office that went to the [state] Senate that said, ‘Kill the bill,’” said Scott. ” I mean, I think that’s probably the easiest way I could put it. We worked as hard as we could with the governor’s office. They had no interest in changing the make-up of the commission.”

I’ve emailed Gov. Hickenlooper’s office for comment today and will let you know if I hear back.

I asked Scott what the public can do to support the oil and gas industry.

“They have to understand we’re losing probably $200 million a year in severance tax, which, if you do the math, it’s very simple: from 2007, when we were number one in the world, to today, we’re getting very very close to $1 billion that we’ve lost. Then if you add on top of that probably another $1 billion that people moving to the state would have spent on homes, cars, clothes, all the things that we do…in our daily lives, there’s over $1 billion that we’ve lost and, why is it we have billion dollar shortfall in the budget?”

In the video above, Scott also addressed environmentalists’ objections to his bill. And I asked him what he would say to Gov. Hickenlooper today.

“Let’s sit down and get it worked out,” said Scott. “You said you wanted to do it, we said we wanted to do it; I don’t see what the problem is. It’s very simple: let’s get Colorado working again. This is a huge problem for us and we have to fix it - and it will fix many, many problems. The industry knows what they’re doing, they don’t want to hurt people; where that comes from I have no clue, but that’s a mantra that people use to try to spook people away from the oil and gas industry. But let’s get it worked out. It’d take us 15 minutes and we’d be done.”

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  • Post by Kelly Maher on May 31st, 2011

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