Governor Polis signed the highly controversial S.B. 181 into law on April 16, 2019.
Why is this important to you? S.B. 181, also known as “Protect Public Welfare Oil and Gas Operations” has been referred to as “landmark legislation” and an “energy overhaul bill” – simply put, the sweeping oil and gas reform legislation increases oil and gas regulation in the State of Colorado, revamps the make-up of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (“COGCC”) and shifts the COGCC’s mission from “fostering” the growth of the oil and gas sector to “regulating” it and prioritizing the protection of public safety, health, welfare, and the environment in the regulation of the oil and gas industry.
This legislation has been strongly opposed by the energy industry for a number of reasons. It is the most comprehensive overhaul of how the oil and gas industry is regulated in the State of Colorado to date, and many feel that industry representatives were not adequately consulted, and that the legislation was rushed through without proper discourse.
The key amendments reflected in the bill’s final form include:
More regulatory power to local governments
More direction in enacting new emissions rules
Restructuring of the COGCC
Adjustment to consent percentages in pooling applications
Click here for the full text of S.B. 181. Ballot initiatives are already in the works to attempt to reverse and repeal these controversial new regulations. The full impacts of this legislation on the oil and gas sector are unknown – what we do know is that operations in Colorado will certainly be more expensive and unpredictable, especially as new regulations get rolled out of the COGCC.