Legislative Update
Our actions make a difference

By Karen Dike
Legislative Committee Chair

Legislative update graphic

Who hasn’t felt at sometime that their actions really aren’t important, that your vote is just one of many or too small to count? Compared to corporations, you write so many letters of protest that generate only a form letter response. Yet, we persist in the face of pessimistic moments with the belief that we matter in this democracy.

For perhaps one of only a few times, I know we really made a difference in the Colorado Legislature this year. It is the kind of difference where the dots were connected and worked.

The Pipeline Right of Way bill, SB14-093, sped through the Colorado Senate and seemed to be on a fast track to giving the oil and gas industry the right of eminent domain for placement of pipelines. Nearly 2,000 Sierra Club members responded with emails and phone calls to our action alert to oppose this bill. Other environmental groups joined us in contacting our representatives, too.

Many individuals testified at the committee hearing. Even after approval by the House Judiciary Committee, people kept up the pressure to kill this bill, which is now on indefinite hold and will most likely die. Thanks everyone, you made a difference!

Other legislative news

  • We are continuing to watch the Analyze Health Data Regarding Front Range Oil Gas bill, HB14-1297, which sets up a health study on the Front Range, for areas impacted by fracking. Again, many Sierra Club members were there to testify about the importance of a health study. Several amendments have been attached to this bill. We will continue to watch this bill carefully. It is now headed to the appropriations committee, then the Senate.
  • Colorado House District 12 Rep. Mike Foote, D-Lafayette, just introduced a bill, Strengthen Penalty Authority Oil & Gas Comm, HB14-1356, which will increase penalties for violations by the oil and gas industry. Watch for further information.

As a reminder, the Legislative Committee has a tracker where you can follow bills. You will see whether we oppose, support or are neutral on bills that have an environmental impact. From this page you can also link to the state website where the bills are posted.

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