PLEASE CALL OR FAX REPRESENTATIVES GREG STUMBO, JIM CALLAHAN, JODY RICHARDS, JOE BARROWS AND LARRY CLARK AND ASK THEM NOT TO CALL HB 458 UP FOR CONCURRENCE.
Yesterday, HB 458 was heard again in the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. An amendment was attached to the bill that purports to call for a state regulatory program to protect property, safety and health (but not the environment), but has signficant problems, the most serious being that the bill seeks to preempt local governments immediately but imposes no timeframe for adoption of state standards. (a brief fact sheet is attached).
That the Senate even amended the bill at all is a tribute to your hard work in calling and writing your legislators. One more effort from you may bury this irresponsible bill. Please take 5 minutes today and call the House leadership. Also, call the Governor's office at 502-564-2611 and ask that the Governor VETO HB 458 if it comes to his desk.
HB 458: OPENING THE PUBLIC UP TO ABUSE
In response to abusive practices by oil and gas companies, Letcher County proposed an ordinance to require protection of landowners when laying gas "gathering" pipelines. In response, the oil and gas industry drafted HB 458, which seeks to preempt all local government ordinances affecting the oil and gas industry.
The bill, despite heavy lobbying pressure by over a dozen industry and contract lobbyists, encountered significant legislative opposition. Industry was forced to accept an amendment to the bill that vaguely calls for a state regulatory program, but is inadequate both in scope and timing.
Why doesn't the Senate Amendment cure the bill's problems?
First, local government power is immediately overridden, yet there is no timeframe for the adoption of state standards. The agency and the industry have no incentive to move fast to fill the gap left in public protection.
Second, the amendment is not clear enough in demanding that regulations be adopted to protect landowners from oil and gas industry abuse. The language could be read not to require adoption of regulations to protect property and health/safety.
Third, the scope is too narrow, since local governments would lose their power to control impacts on the environment yet the state is mandated only to protect property and health/safety and not the environment.
HB 458 is a power grab by an industry that does not want to be accountable for the damage they cause. Ironically, while claiming that they do not support those that cause abuse, the oil and gas association and other industry lobbyists are paving the way for the worst in their industry to inflict harm without accountability.
Representatives Greg Stumbo, Jim Callahan, Jody Richards, Larry Clark and Joe Barrows can bury this atrocious bill. Please call them at 1-502-564-8100 or fax them at 1-502-564-6543 and ask that they NOT call HB 458 up for concurrence.