COLORADO - Oil & Gas "Critical Infrastructure" Anti-Protest Bills

  • Posted on: 18 February 2019
  • By: Connor Gibson

Updated July 14, 2019. See Full Report: State Bills to Criminalize Peaceful Protest of Oil & Gas "Critical Infrastructure"

2017 SB 17-035:

  • Introduced Jan. 11, 2017
  • Approved by Senate on Feb. 28, 2017
  • Died in House committee on April 12, 2017

ICNL analysis

Would have substantially increased penalties for environmental protesters. Under the bill, obstructing or tampering with oil and gas equipment is reclassified from a misdemeanor to a Class 6 felony, punishable by up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. The bill’s language broadly includes anyone who “attempts to alter, obstruct, interrupt, or interfere with the action of any equipment used or associated with oil or gas gathering operations.” In addition to imposing much steeper penalties on anyone engaging in such activity, the bill also provides that oil and gas firms (or any other “victim” of tampering) may pursue separate claims against a protester who is also being prosecuted by the state. 

ALEC legislators:

CSG legislators:

2 of 2 primary sponsors are confirmed affiliates of CSG West:

14 of 14 co-sponsors are confirmed 2017-2018 members of the CSG West’s committees on Energy & Public Lands, Agriculture & Water, Canada Relations, Health & Human Services, State & Federal Relations, Education, and Executive Committee: Sen. Randy Baumgardner, Sen. John Cooke, Sen. Don Coram, Sen. Larry Crowder, Sen. Bob Gardner, Sen. Kevin Grantham, Sen. Kent Lambert, Sen. Kevin Lundberg, Sen. Vicki Marble, Sen. Tim Neville, Sen Kevin Priola, Sen. Ray Scott, and Sen. Jim Smallwood.

Oil & Gas Lobbying:

According to lobbying disclosures on the Colorado Secretary of State website, SB 17-035 was supported by the American Petroleum Institute, the Colorado Petroleum Council (run by API and 5280 Strategies), Noble Energy, the Colorado Petroleum Council, the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, PDC Energy, Chevron, Sloan & Associates Public Affairs, 5280 Strategies, ExxonMobil, Wilsource Enterprises (via Sloan & Associates), Black Hills Corporation.

Oil & Gas Campaign Contributions:

Co-sponsors received $48,410 from oil & gas companies and executives. Of this total, $10,300 was spent by companies lobbying in support of the bill: $8,500 from the Colorado Oil and Gas Association; $1,800 from PDC Energy

Media Reports & References

Mark Hand, Colorado fracking company wants to ‘silence’ opposition to massive drilling project, lawyer says, ThinkProgress, April 15, 2018

Grant Stringer, Are Monkey-Wrenchers Stopping the Front Range From Mapping Pipelines?, Westword, August 31, 2017

John Frank, Protesters’ tampering with oil and gas operations in Colorado targeted by Republican lawmakers, Denver Post, February 28, 2017

Ed Sealover, Bill boosting oil & gas pipeline-tampering penalties passes Colorado Senate. Are any more energy measures coming?, Denver Business Journal, February 28, 2017

Marianne Goodland, Should Tampering with Oil, Gas Valves be a Felony?, Colorado Independent / The Holyoke Enterprise, February 22, 2017

Sean Boyd, Bill Would Make Oil & Gas Pipeline Tampering A Felony, Channel 4 CBS Denver, February 17, 2017