Energy briefing on oil and gas industry

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. Energy issues in Colorado will soon be addressed in the upcoming legislative session. On Wednesday, the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce hosted an energy briefing so locals could learn more about what to expect. Director of Policy for the Oil and Gas Association, Doug Flanders, was invited to share his insight about the future of the industry in our state.

Flanders gave an overview of what's currently going on in the industry and what to expect in the legislative session next year. He talked about major set backs in the industry when it comes to hydraulic fracturing and the economic impacts that the oil and gas industry has on Colorado. The oil and gas industry is a huge part of our economy, supporting more than 100,000 jobs. Flanders said, "What we've seen is a dramatic decrease in oil and gas development over the last five or six years due to the economic slowdown and the low prices of natural gas."

Flanders said in the next legislative session two failed bills may resurface. One bill to increase fines by around 1,500% in the oil and gas industry. The other was a bill that would rewrite some rules on oil and gas regulations. Flanders said the biggest issue in Western Colorado is deciding how far the industry can go. He said 75% of Coloradans use natural gas in their homes. He said the low cost of natural gas in our state is hurting the economy by decreasing the rig count. He hopes legislators and others can find a solution.

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