DENVER — Video of Sen. Stephen Fenberg at a town hall meeting in Boulder has surfaced that explicitly contradicts statements he made before the Senate Transportation and Energy Committee meeting on March 5 concerning Senate Bill 19-181.
The bill titled “Protect Public Welfare Oil and Gas Operations,” which would make sweeping changes to Colorado’s oil and gas industry, has drawn criticism from the industry that Fenberg and the House sponsor K.C. Becker, both of whom represent Boulder, did not bring all stakeholders to the table.
Fenberg has repeatedly denied the claim, saying all stakeholders knew the bill was coming, but no one was consulted or given advance copies of the language of the bill.
At the March 5 Senate Transportation Committee Fenberg responded “no one,” when Sen. Ray Scott, R-Grand Junction asked specifically who saw advance copies.
“I did not provide the bill language to anybody,” Fenberg said in part. “I also did not provide the bill language to people who are here today that I assume are proponents of the bill. This was something I was working on up until the bill was introduced. It is something the Speaker of the House was working on until it was introduced. … It was not shared with advocates, proponents, or opponents before the bill was public.”
However, at a Feb. 21 Town Hall meeting with constituents, he said something entirely different.
“The people that have seen this draft of what we’re working on, that actually know what’s in it, are the two of us (which appears to be Becker), the drafter, and advocates — many of which are probably in the audience — and people that would help implement the regulations that work in the state government,” Fenberg told the crowd.
It’s not the first time Fenberg has contradicted himself. Sen. Minority Leader Chris Holbert, R-Douglas County recently said during personal time on the Senate Floor that it seemed proponents had advanced knowledge of the bill and its contents.
Fenberg denied it at that time, too. However, in a Tweet from his account that he pinned to the top of his feed, Fenberg contradicted himself in a response to Tracee Bentley, Colorado Petroleum Council Executive Director.
Bentley said in a Tweet that in her 15 years of working with the state government, there has always been a thorough stakeholder process.
“We are deeply disappointed that House and Senate leadership do not appear to value the stakeholder process nor the importance of having all stakeholders at the table on one of the most consequential proposals in Colorado History,” Bentley’s Tweet read.
Fenberg responded: “News flash. Special interests don’t write bills, legislators do. I understand it might be difficult for the industry to no longer be able to write their own laws. But that’s not how things work in Colorado anymore.”
Fenberg did not immediately return a request for comment from Complete Colorado. We will update the story should he respond.
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