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Western Wire

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) launched a public lands debate this week after unveiling her plan to prohibit drilling for new oil and gas development on federal lands both onshore and offshore in order to stem what she believes would “end our public lands’ contribution to climate change.” “I want to make you a promise—that is, on the first day of a Warren administration—on the first day, I will sign a moratorium that our public lands there will be no more new drilling or mining,” Warren said in Aurora, Colo. Tuesday evening.

Western Wire

For Gov. Jared Polis and other top members of his Democratic caucus at the Colorado State Capitol, the signing of Senate Bill 181 to reform oil and gas regulations is the first key step in not only transforming the industry in the state but putting to rest some of the acrimony that has festered in recent years, particularly among members of his side of the aisle. Polis and other members of Democratic leadership see the bill as a way of avoiding the cyclical ballot initiatives in 2014, 2016, and 2018 that drew passion and millions in campaign spending but were ultimately inconclusive.

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Navajo allottees who privately own rights to minerals expressed concern about being shutout from a Congressional field hearing in New Mexico on Monday that explored legislation to create a 10-mile buffer zone around Chaco Culture National Historical Park. Members of the House Natural Resources Committee held a field hearing in Santa Fe on the impact of oil and gas drilling on tribal lands and near the Chaco Culture park located in the San Juan Basin, which covers most of the northwest portion of the state and forms the mineral rights for many members of the Navajo Nation. Lawmakers also toured Chaco Culture National Historic Park while in New Mexico.

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As Colorado’s Senate Bill 181, an overhaul of the state’s oil and gas regulatory framework, makes its way to Gov. Jared Polis’ desk to sign, the state is still waiting for the release of the “most comprehensive” health assessment from the state’s health department, according to analysis conducted by Western Wire. In September 2016, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment [CDPHE] announced that data from the “most comprehensive assessments of air toxics, ozone precursors and greenhouse gas emission rates from oil and natural gas well operations to date” would help provide “critical information to design a detailed and accurate health risk assessment so we can answer questions related to potential health concerns related to oil and gas operations.”

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State of Colorado

A bill that would have mandated that the Colorado Public Employees’ Retirement Association (PERA) Board of Trustees analyze climate-related financial risk among the pension’s held assets failed to move out of the State House Finance Committee Monday. The bill (HB-1270) was sponsored by Representatives Emily Sirota and Chris Hansen, both …

BLM

The Bureau of Land Management’s first quarterly lease sales of the year drew millions in competitive bids while parcels deferred in 2018 remain under tribal consultation. With another nine parcels near Chaco Canyon deferred, New Mexico led 1st quarter results taking more than $15 million in bids in the March lease sale. The results come just one year after other parcels near the site were put temporarily off-limits by federal officials.

Western Wire

In an exclusive interview with Western Wire, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler addressed Colorado’s challenging background ozone situation, including transport of ozone from other countries, along with exceptional events, in the light of Colorado’s move to end a request for an extension on meeting air quality standards. “I would …