Public meeting on energy rules tonight | SteamboatToday.com

Public meeting on energy rules tonight

Collin Smith

History is being written.

What happens with the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission’s rulemaking process this year could affect Colorado for generations, Luke Schafer said.

Schafer’s organization, the Colorado Environmental Coalition, plans to host a free public information meeting on the state’s new draft rules for oil and gas drilling at 7 p.m. tonight at the Center of Craig.

The state expects “an unprecedented boom in natural gas and oil development,” Schafer said.

“We’re going to see more and more impacts on our community, positive and negative.”

The Environmental Coalition also had a similar public meeting Monday night in Steamboat Springs and a third is planned for 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Kilowatt Corner in Meeker.

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Last year, the Colorado Legislature passed House Bills 1298 and 1341 requiring the Oil and Gas Commission to revise the state’s natural resource regulations to better protect public health and wildlife.

The energy industry is a large part of Colorado’s present and future, Schafer said, but so are the state’s other traditional resources – wildlife and the attractive outdoors that bring thousands of tourists in every year.

Residents can use the ongoing rulemaking process to help state officials shape Colorado in an image residents want to envision, one way or the other, Schafer said.

“It’s a great opportunity to be a part of our future on the Western Slope,” he said. “I think this is a great opportunity to provide for our future here in a real way.”

Schafer and Sasha Nelson, also with the Environmental Coalition, plan to give a short presentation before opening the floor to discussion.

Schafer said the presentation will cover major points found in the Oil and Gas Commission’s draft rules released in March, focusing on wildlife and public health provisions.

Schafer said no one attending a public meeting this week should be concerned about environmental indoctrination.

“The one thing we strive to do is provide information,” he said. “We’re not here to preach from the pulpit.”

The Oil and Gas Commission plans to hold a one-day hearing on the Western Slope for public comments regarding its draft rules at 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. June 10 in Grand Junction at the Two Rivers Convention Center, 159 Main St.

The Environmental Coalition expects to offer some sort of transportation program for residents who would like to go, Schafer said. For more information, call the Environmental Coalition office at 824-5241.

Residents may also submit written comments online at http://oil-gas.state.co.us/RuleMaking/DraftComments/Comment.cfm.

Schafer said he would like to see as many people become involved as have the opportunity.

“Hopefully, we’ll see people in this area provide input,” he said, “because often times, we in Moffat County and on the Western Slope don’t get heard as much as we should.”

If you go

What: Colorado Environmental Coalition public information meeting on proposed energy industry regulations

When: 7 p.m. tonight

Where: Center of Craig

• Another meeting is planned for 7 p.m. Wednesday at Kilowatt Corner in Meeker

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