DENVER—Today, on a second reading vote, the Senate approved President Pro Tem Jerry Sonnenberg's (R-Sterling) bill to strengthen penalties against tampering or destroying sensitive oil and gas equipment.
Senate Bill 17-035 takes crucial steps to ensure the safety of our communities by increasing the penalty for the dangerous existing crime of tampering with oil and gas equipment from a class 2 misdemeanor to a class 6 felony.
The bill also adds placing another person in danger of serious injury or death to the definition of the existing crime.
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.