Lawmaker calls oil and gas bill ‘economic racism’ as debate continues on Senate floor

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DENVER — Weld County State Sen. John Cooke called SB 181 “economic racism” as the controversial oil and gas bill was debated on the State Senate floor for the first time Tuesday.

“Weld County will be devastated,” Cooke told lawmakers.

“I can’t believe there are people in here who are my friends but will vote for economic destruction of my community,” Cooke added.

Democratic Majority Leader Steve Fenberg emphasized “this is not a moratorium” as he continued to push for the bill to advance.

Democratic Sen. Mike Foote says this will allow the COGCC to deny a permit because SB 181 instructs them to “make sure health and safety comes first.”

SB 181 calls for giving local governments, if they want it, more power to regulate oil and gas.

It also changes the mission of the COGCC. Presently the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission’s is charged with “fostering” a relationship with energy development. SB 181 makes clear it is a regulatory body.

“Wouldn’t it be great to have a regulator that only wants to foster you,” Polis told FOX31’s Joe St. George  Friday, as he continued support of this bill.

SB 181 is expected to advance in the State Senate.

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