ray scott Archives - Colorado Politics
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Joey BunchJoey BunchFebruary 17, 201810min3250


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Joey BunchJoey BunchJanuary 19, 20184min307
A bill to restore the funding and redistribute the attention of the Colorado Energy Office cleared its first committee Thursday. That’s not surprising for a Republican bill in a Republican-led committee, but the bipartisan 9-2 vote on Senate Bill 3 means it might have a chance to rescue an imperiled agency. Last year a partisan […]

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Joey BunchJoey BunchJanuary 17, 20187min316
Senate Republicans say they want to make the Colorado Energy Office great again, and Senate Bill 3 this session is just the ticket for an all-of-the-above energy effort, said Sen. Ray Scott, the sponsor of the bill. In a partisan standoff at the end of the last session about the office’s mission, it was left […]

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Joey BunchJoey BunchOctober 20, 20172min9080

Ray Scott won’t face an ethics rebuke from his fellow senators, after Republican and Democratic leadership said his social media accounts are his business.

Scott, a Republican from Grand Junction, received complaints from three Grand Valley residents because he blocked them from posting on his social media accounts, including Facebook, Charles Ashby of the Grand Junction Sentinel reported.

Senate President Kevin Grantham, R-Canon City, Senate Majority Leader Chris Holbert, R-Parker, and Senate Minority Leader Lucia Guzman, D-Denver, agreed there was no violation to investigate, since the Senate doesn’t have rules regarding social media, Ashby reporter after an interview with Grantham.

Anne Landman, Claudette Konola and Martin Wiesiolek alleged they were denied free speech because they were blocked by Scott, which they further alleged was official misconduct of his legislative duties. (Disclosure: This reporter has blocked or muted at least a dozen people for various reasons, including compulsive tweeting at me, profane insults, conspiracy theories and stuff stranger than that. Forgive me, Founding Fathers.)

“Senate Republicans and Democrats agreed this was a frivolous attempt to taint our ability to control inappropriate comments on our personal social media sites,” Scott told Colorado Politics Friday morning. “Trolls trying to smear someone they don’t like personally or for our political views hopefully will move on to other adventures.”

Ashby wrote that the three cite the Virginia court case of Davison v. Loudoun County Board of Supervisors. In July U.S. District Judge James Cacheris ruled the board had violated the First Amendment rights of a blogger when the chairwoman blocked him from posting on her Facebook page.

Read Ashby’s story here.


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Joey BunchJoey BunchSeptember 7, 20177min4260

Before the state raises taxes and fees on an industry, two top legislative Republicans want to know more about the problem with abandoned oil and gas wells in Colorado.

In a Aug. 22 story in the Denver Post by Christopher N. Osher, Gov. John Hickenlooper said he would ask oil and gas companies to help cover the cost of capping 700 to 800 “orphan wells,” whose owners have moved on and refuse to pay. The industry also might be asked to provide in-home methane monitors for nearby homeowners.

The governor laid out a raft of proposals for public safety that day, as the state’s response to a house explosion that killed two people in Firestone in April.

The state’s available budget to cap the hundreds wells would cover about 10 a year, Osher reported.

Sen. Ray Scott of Grand Junction, chairman of a state Senate Select Committee on Energy, and Rep. Bob Rankin, who sits on the Hoint Budget Committee, said they weren’t aware of the size and scope of the problem in a letter to Matt Lepore, the director Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, Wednesday.

“As members of the General Assembly and the Joint Budget Committee, this characterization is concerning to us,” the letter states. “We are not aware of this matter being raised or discussed in the context of submittals from the Governor’s office or the COGCC in recent budget cycles. Moreover, it is our understanding that existing statutory provisions referenced below are designed to provide the COGCC with the resources necessary to address the problem on a continuous basis.”

Asked about the letter, Scott told Colorado Politics, “It’s imperative that COGCC explain in detail why they ask for more funding when they already have existing funding and laws in place to guide their operations. In these days of tight budgets taxpayers want to know.”

Here is the full text of what Scott and Rankin sent Lepore:

Dear Director Lepore:

We are writing to request your assistance with an informational request regarding the size and scope of the abandoned well situation in Colorado. Recently Governor Hickenlooper suggested the abandoned well problem is so vast in scope that new taxes and fees are necessary to stand up a new organization to address the problem.

As members of the General Assembly and the Joint Budget Committee, this characterization is concerning to us. We are not aware of this matter being raised or discussed in the context of submittals from the Governor’s office or the COGCC in recent budget cycles. Moreover, it is our understanding that existing statutory provisions referenced below are designed to provide the COGCC with the resources necessary to address the problem on a continuous basis.

  1. We would appreciate your prompt response to the following questions:
  2. What is the most accurate, current inventory (number) of abandoned wells or locations that the COGCC is aware of and tracking? In which basin(s) are these wells or facilities located?
  3. What is the most accurate, current forecast (number) of wells the COGCC anticipates are or may soon be in financial distress and have the potential to become abandoned? What is the COGCC’s timeline for this forecast? In which basin(s) are these wells or facilities located?
  4. How many wells or locations has the COGCC remediated in each of the past five calendar years and in what basin(s) are these wells or facilities located? What is the aggregate and per project cost for the plugging and abandonment of these wells or facilities?
  5. How many wells or locations is the COGCC is presently remediating and what are the projected costs for each of these ongoing projects in 2018 fiscal year?
  6. To what extent has the COGCC utilized the required operator bonding as a funding mechanism to offset the costs of plugging and abandonment? Does the COGCC consider this funding mechanism to be inadequate? If so, does this suggest a need to consider adjustments to current bonding requirements?
  7. To what extent is the COGCC using existing statutory funding mechanisms necessary to address the abandoned well situation, e.g. §34-60-122 C.R.S.? It would appear this existing statute gives the COGCC with the necessary funding, provided the fund balance is replenished via its share of severance taxes. Furthermore, other existing law makes clear that plugging abandoned wells is well within the ambit of “preventing or mitigating a condition that might result in significant adverse environmental impact”, §34-60-124 C.R.S.
  8. Finally, has the COGCC examined its internal systems, policies and protocols to determine what, if any, impact staff review times, enforcement activities or other processes may be contributing to operator’s financial distress?

We appreciate your prompt attention to this request and look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Ray Scott
State Senator

Bob Rankin
State Representative

Cc: Henry Sobanet, Office of State Planning and Budgeting


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirAugust 29, 20173min1630

Remember Colorado state Sen. Ray Scott’s face-off on Facebook a few weeks ago with some critics who complained that he had blocked them and hidden their comments? They wound up filing an ethics complaint with the legislature against the veteran Grand Junction lawmaker, citing in part a recent federal court ruling in Virginia that a public official in that state had violated a local constituent’s right to free speech by taking down negative comments posted to the official’s Facebook page.

The court found in that case that the official had acted “under color of law” in maintaining the page largely as a forum for public office, as well as in removing unwanted comments. Yet, only days after that ruling, the same plaintiff also lost a very similar case he had brought against another local government. Same U.S District Court but a different judge.

Here’s an update: The two rulings, seemingly in conflict, are now both being appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond.

As we pointed out before, Scott isn’t alone in taking heat from detractors who assert a First Amendment right over his  presence on social media platforms. Activists nationally appear to have embraced the tactic in taking on politicians with whom they differ. They’ve hauled several governors and even the president to court with similar claims.

Will the court uphold the right of elected officials like Scott to manage their own Facebook and Twitter accounts as they fit? Or, will public service mean that what was once an officeholder’s personal space is now a public forum?

 


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Joey BunchJoey BunchAugust 28, 20172min1990

State Sen. Ray Scott is embroiled in a legal battle that pits allegations the lawmaker was run out of the fireplace sales business against claims he consistently was late in making payments, accepted money from customers but delayed placing their orders and threatened to use his elected position against the fireplace manufacturer.

In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Denver last year, the Grand Junction Republican alleges Montigo Del Ray Corp., the fireplace company for which his Grand Junction-based business, Gas Products Corp., was the sole manufacturer’s representative, unfairly ended its relationship with him and gave its exclusive distributorship to the second company named in the lawsuit, California-based BTU Marketing LLC.

Scott filed his lawsuit after Montigo made several attempts to collect payments it claims Scott’s company owed. Not long after those collection attempts, Scott sent an email threatening to use his position in the Legislature against the manufacturer.

“I would think that someone who could protect your interest in this market and who serves on the energy commission would be a huge benefit, or I guess could be a huge problem under the right circumstances,” Scott wrote to Montigo executive Scott Baron in September 2012, a month after his distributor contract was terminated. “Wow. Now politics enters the picture, didn’t expect that one.”

Read the full story here.