A bill that would have created a study of the health impacts of oil and gas drilling on Front Range residents died in a state Senate committee on April 29.
The bill — which increased in cost over time — was killed in the Senate Appropriations …
This item is available in full to subscribers.
If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.
Click here to see your options for becoming a subscriber.
If you made a voluntary contribution in 2022-2023 of $50 or more, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one at no additional charge. VIP Digital Access includes access to all websites and online content.
The bill — which increased in cost over time — was killed in the Senate Appropriations Committee, following a 5-2 vote.
Democratic Sens. Pat Steadman of Denver and Mary Hodge of Brighton joined all Republican committee members in voting against the measure.
A dejected bill sponsor expressed disappointment after her effort failed.
“I think the people's voices have been silenced,” said Rep. Joann Ginal, D-Fort Collins.
House Bill 1297 would have required the state to conduct a three-year health impact study on residents living in the Front Range counties of Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Larimer and Weld.
The study would have included the surveying of residents living in those areas and the possible review of medical records.
The effort was a response to concerns over the practice of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” — the practice of mixing of water, sand and chemicals and blasting the mixture deep into the ground to crack porous rock and free up oil and gas.
The study would have focused on counties that include communities that have sought to either ban or limit the practice of fracking over the last few years.
Ginal and other bill supporters said a study would provide both a health and educational benefit for Coloradans who want to know more about the impacts of the controversial oil and gas industry money-maker and job creator.
However, the bill received only a single Republican vote in the House. Some legislators and oil and gas industry leaders opposed the effort for reasons that included concerns that the study would be slanted toward the viewpoint of fracking opponents.
Money was also an issue. Originally, the bill sought only to include Adams, Boulder, Larimer and Weld counties as part of the study. But a House committee added Arapahoe County and the City and County of Broomfield to that list.
The additions increased the study's cost to about $700,000 — something that concerned Ginal before it even got to the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Senate President Morgan Carroll, D-Aurora, said she did not know if cost or other factors led to the bill's defeat. Carroll did say that she supported the bill and that “it's a basic responsibility (of the state)” to look out for the health of its residents.
“I think sooner or later it behooves all of us to get a credible and independent study,” Carroll said. “And, from the oil and gas perspective, if (fracking) is as safe as they say, then they should have credible independent studies that confirm that.”
Ginal said she intends to revive the effort next year.
Other items that may interest you
We have noticed you are using an ad blocking plugin in your browser.
The revenue we receive from our advertisers helps make this site possible. We request you whitelist our site.