Colorado Oil & Gas Task Force Reaches Agreement on Multiple Recommendations to Gov. John Hickenlooper

DENVER, February 24, 2015 – Governor Hickenlooper’s Oil and Gas Task Force completed its six-month process on Tuesday with a series of votes, The Keystone Center announced, resulting in nine recommendations which will be sent to the Governor in a final report later this week. Recommendations focused on the early input of local governments in decisions the siting of on large-scale oil and gas operations, coordinating long-term drilling plans with local government comprehensive land use plans, increased staffing for Colorado’s Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and Department of Public Health and Environment, and measures for facilitating collaboration between operators and local governments when disputes arise.

The Task Force was formed in September 2014 following an executive order by Governor Hickenlooper with the charge of providing recommendations for how to most reasonably and effectively balance land use issues in a way that minimizes conflicts while protecting communities and allowing reasonable access to private mineral rights.

Composed of representatives from local government, civic organizations, environmental interests, agriculture, and affected industries, the Task Force has held a number of public meetings across the state at which they heard from hundreds of citizens, local government officials, health and legal experts, and industry representatives and state officials to help them understand the existing laws, regulations, processes and practices related to oil and gas development throughout the state.

At these meetings, facilitated by The Keystone Center, members considered possible changes to state statutes, suggested new rulemakings at the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, and recommended policy and practices—as well as additional funding and staffing—in service of improving the process for siting and permitting oil and gas operations.

“The Task Force engaged in robust and civil discussion on a broad range of difficult topics,” said Christine Scanlan, CEO of The Keystone Center. “They engaged honestly with each other and presenters to find ways to reduce conflicts between oil and gas operators and homeowners, property owners and communities so that the resource might be responsibly developed while addressing environmental and quality of life concerns.”

“The Keystone Center’s facilitation was essential to the civil nature of this very complex process,” added Bernie Buescher, former Colorado Secretary of State and Task Force member.

The Keystone Center will submit a final report to Governor Hickenlooper on Friday. Upon acceptance the report will be posted on the websites of The Keystone Center and the CO Department of Natural Resources.

About Keystone Policy Center
Keystone Policy Center brings together crucial teams of stakeholders who have diverse individual perspectives but recognize a common need to address urgent issues with lasting solutions. For more than 40 years, The Center has helped leaders move beyond fixed positions toward collaborative, action-oriented approaches to problem-solving. In this age of polarized debate on nearly every major topic in public policy, The Keystone Center offers a refreshing yet proven blueprint for progress.