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Mesa County torn over disclosure laws

While states like Wyoming and Colorado have already adopted chemical disclosure laws for oil and gas companies, President Obama announced in March that a federal chemical disclosure law could be on the horizon.

According to Western Slope Now, oil and gas proponents predict more heightened regulations, which they believe could hurt the state.

“Any kinds of rules and regulations that reduce oil and gas drilling in Western Colorado impact our school districts, our special school districts and important projects recently that have been funded,” said Western Colorado Oil and Gas Task Force member David Ludlam.

Data from the Federal Mineral Lease District indicates that in 2013—the same year the state established chemical disclosure regulations—Mesa County was allotted $2 million in royalties. This year’s funding was significantly lower at $1.2 million; $500,000 was used to bolster Colorado Mesa University’s technology, $600,000 was used to construct Main Street in Palisade.

“We expect them to be lower significantly from 2014,” Craig Springer with the Federal Lease district told Western Slope Now.

While oil and gas stakeholders are apprehensive to the potential financial toll the new regulations could take, environmentalists see it as a step towards a healthier place to live. According to Citizens by Clean Air, the new regulations would eradicate 80 percent of air pollutants near oil and gas production.

The regulations would also touch on chemical testing, prompting Colorado to join other states in a lawsuit filed against the BLM. As it stands, oil and gas operators have 90 days after launching a site to report their chemicals.

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