DENVER—Today, the Senate approved President Pro Tem Jerry Sonnenberg's (R-Sterling) bill to strengthen penalties on unlawful destruction or tampering with oil and gas equipment on final passage.
Senate Bill 17-035 helps ensure the safety of Colorado communities by increasing the penalty for tampering with, or in any way destroying sensitive oil and gas equipment.
SB 035 increases the penalty for the existing crime from a class 2 misdemeanor to a class 6 felony.
Colorado has seen multiple cases of oil and gas tampering in recent years, the most recent involving the theft of over a
The bipartisan vote sent SB 035 to the House for approval.
Several nearby oil producing states have seen similar acts of vandalism which often result in hazardous destruction of property and possible ecological danger to the community. In Colorado, over $250,000 in oil and gas equipment were recently stolen from a site in Weld County and in Routt County, two teens were killed in an explosion while vandalizing oil tanks.
"Peaceful protests and free speech are among the bedrock rights of our society," said Sonnenberg. "However, it is our duty as public servants to practice environmental stewardship and take action against those who seek to harm our communities through destructive disregard of our safety and laws."
Senate Bill 17-035 will now be heard on third reading in the Senate before continuing on to the House.