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Regulating Oil And Gas Industry In Colorado

2355 words - 9 pages

Chairman of North Dakota’s Republican party and an energy industry consultant, Robert Harms, told the media in early January 2014 that a "moderated approach" was needed amid an energy boom that has transformed the local economy in North Dakota, but created safety concerns that cannot be ignored. This comment came after a train crash occurred at the end of December 2013, when a 106-car train carrying crude oil crashed into a derailed grain train near the town of Casselton, setting off explosions and a fire that burned for more than 24 hours. Harms called this crash a wake-up call for local and state officials, as well as for those associated with the oil and gas industry and the transportation industry. Vocal indication of growing local alarm could add to pressure for federal action, or for the energy industry to impose more safeguards (Underlee Nelson, 2014). The pressure for federal action that is being called for in North Dakota to ensure the safety and economic welfare of the citizens is the very thing needed in Weld County as the oil and gas industry is beginning to boom.
Harms’ concern about the fast and furious rate at which the oil and gas industry has taken off in North Dakota needs to be a concern at a federal level for Colorado as well, as the industry is taking off at a fast pace in Weld and Larimer counties in the northern part of the state. The Colorado Ethics Watch has released information revealing more than $1 million spent on lobbying in the first 10 months of the 2013 fiscal year, and the undue influence this relatively small industry seemingly has on legislation and public officials in the state. “While it is not surprising that the oil and gas industry is a big lobbying player in Colorado politics, said Luis Toro, director of Colorado Ethics Watch, the level of their influence at all levels of government, including elected officials and regulating bodies themselves, is shocking. In a year that saw historic policy changes in several arenas, the oil and gas industry was remarkable in its ability to protect itself from significant legislative change.” (Colorado Ethics Watch (2014). Allowing action like this from the industry could be devastating to those who will not positively gain from the actions, but will be negatively affected when safety and financial procedures are not regulated closely.
As stated previously, a relatively small industry is able to make a sizable impact on the politics that directly affect the processes and regulations surrounding that industry itself. The initial policy change that this memorandum is seeking to institute is that of imposing a cap on the amount of funds that the oil and gas industry can contribute to lobbying. According to Stokols (2013), Colorado’s oil and gas industry had spent over $1 million dollars in the first ten month of fiscal year 2013, and roughly $4.7 million in the last four years. This amount of money was pivotal in staving off a bevy of Democratic bills that...

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