The Colorado Senate gave final approval Wednesday to a controversial oil and gas regulation bill, sending it to Gov. Jared Polis.
The Senate approved amendments made by the House to Senate Bill 181, then repassed the bill on a 19-16 mostly party-line vote.
The legislation requires the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission to prioritize health and safety over industry development. It also gives local governments more leeway in regulating the industry themselves, rather than relying on the state’s regulatory commission.
Sen. Steve Fenberg, D-Boulder, one of the bill’s primary sponsors, said many of the 34 amendments made to the bill were at the request of the oil and gas industry.
“To say that this did not receive a robust debate and have its time throughout the process for full debate and input I think would be incorrect,” he said before the bill was passed again Wednesday.
One of the main amendments to the bill professionalizes the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission, a move that Fenberg said was a major concession given to the industry.
The Senate had already passed the bill last month, then it was passed by the House last week with amendments that had to approved by the Senate and passed before heading to the governor, who's expected to sign it.
The Colorado Oil & Gas Association and the the Colorado Petroleum Council said in a joint statement that they still oppose the bill.
“While a few critical amendments were added that begin to address some of industry’s concerns and provide a degree of certainty to our member companies, our industry remains firmly opposed to this bill because it threatens one of the pillars of Colorado’s economy,” the statement read.
Republicans and industry groups fear the legislation will hurt the industry, which contributes almost $1 billion in tax revenue to the state.