March to protest controversial oil and gas bill

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT)-- A controversial oil and gas bill is making its way through the state capitol.

Opponents say it will slash jobs. Supporters say it puts power in the hands of local governments.

The West Slope Colorado Oil and Gas Association and other energy workers marched in opposition to Senate Bill 181 on Friday. They're calling it a historic anti-natural gas and oil measure. Opponents say the measure would eliminate 120,000 jobs and remove eight billion dollars in tax revenue from state and local governments.

In particular, they say the Piceance Basin near Parachute provides more than a billion dollars to the local economy annually.

"We would just love to see the House take a pause, sit down and figure out a better solution, a better answer to this question they have. A lot of the things we are doing are addressing health and safety today and let that process carry forward," said Eric Carlson the Executive Director of the West Slope Colorado Oil & Gas Association.

"We need to get the politicians to realize that when we vote something out, we don't want it shoved down our throats by a few elites over in Denver," said Warren Bruton, Exec. Dir., Collbran Rancher.

Supporters say wells are being drilled too close to neighborhoods and environmentally sensitive areas. They also say the bill would give local governments the power to decide how to use their land. The bill has a few more votes before heading to the governor's desk.