GasRigColorado.jpg

Tim PetersOctober 11, 20177min4470

In its first comprehensive review of research on potential health effects, the Colorado health department found no conclusive evidence that oil and natural gas development in nearby communities poses any significant public health risk. The study comports with similar research conducted within the state and around the country.


OP-Scott_Tipton_W.jpg

Scott TiptonScott TiptonJuly 25, 20177min390
U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton
U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton

Energy demand is growing in the United States. In order to meet the energy needs of the future, it is critical that we develop an all-of-the-above energy strategy that incorporates renewable resources as well as responsible development of fossil fuels.

I recently introduced the Planning for American Energy Act, which is a bill that would set us on the path toward creating an all-of-the-above energy strategy by requiring the Departments of Agriculture and the Interior to develop forward-looking energy plans that include all resources: wind, solar, hydropower, geothermal, oil, natural gas, coal, oil shale and minerals.

We will need to make significant investments in energy infrastructure in order to make an all-of-the-above energy future a reality, but the current permitting process for energy infrastructure is a spider web of regulations that often prevents important projects from moving forward.

We recently passed two bills in the House of Representatives to address the permitting process for natural gas and oil pipelines. The two bills, the Promoting Interagency Coordination for Review of Natural Gas Pipelines Act (H.R. 2910) and the Promoting Cross-Border Energy Infrastructure Act (H.R. 2883), centralize permitting authority within the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

Too often, energy infrastructure projects get held up in the permitting process for years, even decades. The cost of the project grows and there is no certainty that it will ever be approved. The result? Fewer companies are inclined to build the infrastructure we’ll need to meet future energy demands.

The Promoting Interagency Coordination for Review of Natural Gas Pipelines Act would address part of this problem by requiring any federal agency that is participating in an infrastructure project to either deny or approve a permit within 90 days of FERC completing its review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

Another issue that has prevented energy infrastructure projects from moving forward is the lack of any standardized permit process for international projects – projects that cross from the U.S. into Canada or Mexico. Currently, the approval process for international projects follows Executive Order precedent, which can be highly subjective. The lack of certainty hurts U.S. energy infrastructure.

The Promoting Cross-Border Energy Infrastructure Act creates a streamlined, standardized process within FERC for permitting cross-border projects. The bill would also give the Secretary of Energy the authority to approve electric transmission facility projects.

Both of the bills we passed last week are not only critical to U.S. energy security, but they will also help support good-paying jobs in Colorado. The Western Energy Alliance reports that responsible oil and gas development in the Third Congressional District alone supports over 7,800 direct and indirect jobs, totaling over $820 million in wages and over $2.2 billion in total economic output. Sustaining these jobs and their resulting economic output requires investments in energy infrastructure.

While we still have a long way to go, we’ve already seen progress from efforts to simplify and streamline federal regulations. I’m committed to ensuring our regulatory process supports the infrastructure investments we’ll need to create an all-of-the-above energy future and grow good-paying jobs in the United States.


OP-Scott_Tipton_W.jpg

Scott TiptonScott TiptonJune 20, 20173min350

For too long, the U.S. has operated with no comprehensive plan for meeting the inevitable increased demand for energy created by both traditional and renewable resources. As the energy economy continues to evolve, we must develop a true all-of-the-above energy strategy that will ensure both U.S. energy security and affordable power for American families well into the future.


windmills.jpg

Peter MarcusPeter MarcusJune 20, 20176min470

Gov. John Hickenlooper’s office is expected to request on Tuesday that state budget writers approve supplemental funding for the Colorado Energy Office after the legislature hit an impasse at the end of the legislative session.

The governor’s office is asking for $3.1 million to preserve the office, which, in addition to promoting renewable energy, also assists schools, the agriculture industry and developers reduce energy costs.

While the Energy Office would be able to retain about 10 employees thanks to federal funds, another 24 staff positions are on the line.

The office would no longer operate programs that focus on agriculture, building development, and policy and research.

The governor’s office is seeking up to $3.1 million in the upcoming budget that starts in July to continue its operations. The split Joint Budget Committee is expected to be presented with the proposal on Tuesday.

Sen. Kent Lambert, R-Colorado Springs, chairman of the JBC, said he believes the issue was addressed during the legislative session when lawmakers could not reach an agreement on continuing funding for the office. He said the question is better left for the full legislature to decide rather than the six members of the JBC.

It’s likely that the JBC will deadlock on the funding request on Tuesday, as it is split between three Democrats and three Republicans. A tie would kill the proposal.

“We objected to it being just a JBC action all the way back to the first of November when he (Hickenlooper) put it in his budget request. This is not just a budget request,” Lambert said. “There are a lot of questions over how is the money being used and a lot of what we consider unnecessary regulations and things that are restricting the energy industry.”

“A bill having failed, I just don’t think it’s the right process for the JBC to come back and fund something that did not make it through the legislative process. I’m quite concerned about that. It’s bad precedent,” said Rep. Bob Rankin, R-Carbondale, a member of the JBC. “On the other hand, I’m not opposed to the idea of an energy office, I’m voting against the process.”

The third Republican member of the JBC, Sen. Kevin Lundburg of Berthoud, has already expressed concerns with the Colorado Energy Office and is likely to oppose the funding request.

The governor’s office believes that it has an obligation to request supplemental funding because it was “unforeseen” that the legislature would not act on maintaining funding. Supplementals are authorized for several reasons, one of which includes “unforeseen” events.

“The governor has agreed that he is open to a process where we re-examine the mission of the Colorado Energy Office to make sure it includes ‘all of the above’ energy – all forms,” said a Hickenlooper spokeswoman. “He has received encouragement that the office could be funded through the JBC for the current year while that process goes forward.”

Lambert, however, does not believe an “unforeseen” event took place, pointing out that the legislature debated the subject this year, though it was unable to reach a resolution on the last day of the legislative session.

Funding would have been included in the 57-page Senate Bill 301, which would have provided the $3.1 million while also doing away with certain programs. It was supported by Hickenlooper’s Energy Office.

The Republican-controlled Senate had included provisions that would have made changes to a host of renewable energy and other programs in the state, including eliminating some of those programs. The Senate version would have expanded the Colorado Energy Office’s focus to include nuclear and hydropower, while giving the oil and gas industry a greater voice.

It also focused heavily on natural gas, aiming at eliminating a prohibition on investor-owned utilities owning natural gas reserves. An investor-owned utility is owned by private investors and members. The legislation would have directed the state to create rules allowing an investor-owned utility to acquire an interest in Colorado-based natural gas reserves for up to 50 percent of its needs.

A provision of the legislation also would have raised registration fees for electric vehicles, which had some Democratic lawmakers concerned.

Democrats approved a trimmed bill, which would have continued funding for the Colorado Energy Office, but it also would have stripped many of the provisions stemming from the Senate.

The discussion became bogged down in politics, especially following a home explosion in Firestone in April linked to natural gas leaking from an old pipeline. The incident killed two men. Republicans and Democrats could not find enough common ground to advance the bill in the split legislature.

“That was the situation we were put in, either we adhere to the Senate position or recede to the House position, and that was just unacceptable,” Lambert said. “Maybe next year we can try again.”


Screen-Shot-2016-07-09-at-6.03.43-PM.png

Morgan SmithMorgan SmithJune 19, 20177min410

Now that the Trump administration has initiated the process of renegotiating the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), let’s hope that this process is marked by thoughtfulness and not rhetoric like the president’s earlier comments that NAFTA was “the worst trade deal in history.” Despite the anti-trade rhetoric, NAFTA has been ...


Screen-Shot-2016-03-23-at-4.29.32-AM-e1466308207731.png

Paula NoonanPaula NoonanMay 31, 20175min560

Both “sides” in the arguments over oil and gas development say the other is “taking advantage” of the explosions in Firestone and Mead. This should not be a time for sides. This should be a time for serious analysis. It can also provide an opening that should, for the sake of everyone in the state, cut through sides to allow common sense to function. Both accidents caused violent fire and explosions leading to death and serious injuries in non-industrial environments. The Mead accident occurred 1,000 feet from other buildings, according to reports. The Firestone explosion blew up a house as a pipe leaked gas that followed French drains into the Martinez’s basement.