WCC has identified some top priorities for the 2017 state legislative session – here are the highlights:
Local Government Liable Fracking Ban Oil and Gas Moratorium (HB 1124): WCC opposed this bill at the start of the session so we’re happy to report it’s dead! HB 1124 would have penalized any local government that banned or enacted a moratorium of oil and gas development by holding it liable for the value of the mineral rights.
WCC is continuing to work with legislative sponsors on another bill that would better protect our children from drilling and fracking operations near schools. We have played a leading role in developing this common-sense health and safety measure, which would close a disturbing loophole in state regulations. Once the bill is introduced in the House, it will get an official title and number. WCC supports this bill as this year’s top legislative priority.
Meanwhile, we’re awaiting the introduction of at least two other oil and gas bills that we’ll likely support, one that would increase local governments’ control over land use and another that would improve air quality monitoring.
Electric Utility Distribution Grid Resource Acquisition Plan (SB 145): WCC supported this bill which unfortunately has died. This bill would have pushed Colorado’s electric utilities to move faster in incorporating distributed energy resources (i.e., anything other than centralized power plants) into the power grid.
Equal Protection from Federal Employee Personal Attack (HB 1141): WCC was strongly opposed to this bill so again we’re happy to report the death of a bill! HB 1141 would have made federal employees vulnerable to a felony charge for managing grazing on public lands.
WCC is working with Western Slope allies on a bill to reform some of the state’s outdated mining regulations that allowed the Gold King Mine wastewater spill to happen near Silverton in 2015. We can’t discuss the particulars of this bill until it has been introduced, but WCC will support it.
Food and agriculture
Recognize Industrial Hemp Agricultural Product For Agricultural Water Right (SB 117): WCC has long supported the growth and creation of hemp as a viable crop in Western Colorado. This bill affirms that industrial hemp is a recognized agricultural product that people can use their water rights to cultivate. A similar bill (SB 109) has been introduced that would recognize hemp as a viable animal feed. WCC supports these bills to give more tools and options to Western Slope family farms and ranches.
Wage Theft Transparency Act (HB 1021): In 2014 WCC joined with allied organizations across the state to pass the Wage Protection Act, which created legal channels for workers suffering from wage theft. This bill clarifies that businesses must be transparent about any wage theft claims they are facing. WCC supports this bill.
For more details or to get involved, contact Emily(at)wccongress.org.