” …that’s the problem with what’s going on at the state capitol, is that the industry infiltrates the state capitol.” — Joe Salazar.
Former state legislator Joe Salazar is the new head of Colorado Rising. The Democrat served 3 terms in the Colorado House of Representatives and brought forward several pieces of legislation in support of civil, human and environmental rights. He is calling on state lawmakers to halt new drilling in the state.
As head of the organization that brought Prop 112 to the ballot in November, he is calling for an immediate moratorium on new drilling permits in Colorado and tighter regulations on oil and gas activity in the state. The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission has approved over 1,400 drilling permits in the last two months with more than 6,000 on the docket for future consideration.
Salazar says many of these permits are for densely populated areas such as Stapleton.
“Something I’ve been saying for the past 6 years at the state capitol is that this industry doesn’t really care if they’re intruding (into) or invading communities themselves. They’re just no longer going to stay on the outskirts. They want a product they’re going to harvest and they’ll get at it by putting their industrial activity in the heart of communities, just as much as they’ll stay on the outskirts of communities.”
Salazar represented Thornton at the statehouse since 2013, a district that has grappled with how to regulate the oil and gas industry.
“What people need to understand is that when we bring bills to regulate the oil and gas industry, to hold them accountable to the public for their activities, they’ll show up with an army of lobbyists. I think it’s the industry that has the largest number of lobbyists out of any other industry in the state capitol. For example I brought my Martinez bill last year to codify the Colorado Court of Appeals Martinez decision that said that before any permits are given we have to take a look at the health, safety and welfare of the public and the environment. Now I brought 60-80 constituents and residents and neighbors from all across the Denver metro area and as far out as Grand Junction to come and testify, we’re talking about voters and constituents. These people came and testified and then you had the oil and gas industry with I think 28 paid lobbyists. Now that bill passed the House but it failed in the Senate just off the lobbyists testimony. And that’s the problem with what’s going on at the state capitol, is that the industry infiltrates the state capitol.”
Colorado Rising is leading a rally at the state capitol in Denver on Friday January 4th at 7.30am to coincide with the first day of the 2019 legislative session. Salazar said that going forward the group will take a similar approach to the ACLU in having a litigation team, a policy-making team and a team holding policy-makers accountable.