BILL SUMMARY for SMART Government Act Presentation from the Colorado Department of Natural Resources
COMMITTEE ON JOINT AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES
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02:07 PM -- SMART Government Act Presentation from the Colorado Department of Natural Resources
Bob Randall, Executive Director, Department of Natural Resources (DNR), introduced himself to the committee. The committee received copies of DNR's Regulatory Agenda for FY 2016-17 and the Performance Plan for FY 2016-17 (Attachments E and F). Mr Randall discussed the three strategic polices of DNR in the upcoming year and ways in which the department seeks to accomplish these goals. Mr. Randall discussed the DNR dashboard, initiated by Governor Hickenlooper. Mr. Randall described how this dashboard improves various interactions between DNR and the public, including customer service, obtaining hunting and fishing licenses, and complaints related to oil and gas operations. Mr. Randall responded to questions from the committee regarding the financial stability of state parks throughout the state.
170110 AttachE.pdf https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/torid-heat-3070.appspot.com/o/Planning%2FDNR2017PerformancePlan.pdf?alt=media&token=3af5c681-9199-4685-8b8b-f42e06b34483 (Attachment F)
Bill Levine, Budget Director DNR, introduced himself to the committee and gave an overview of his presentation to the committee. Mr. Levine discussed the severance tax and how the tax and how those funds are distributed. Mr. Levine discussed the recent decision in B.P v. Colorado Department of Revenue. and how that decision affected the severance tax fund. Mr. Levine discussed the Perpetual Base Fund, which is used primarily for water project loans, and the Operational Fund and Tier 1 Programs that receive that funding. Any money left in the Operational Fund is put toward Tier 2 programs. Mr. Levine explained that all money in the Operational Fund will be put towards Tier 1 programs and that Tier 1 programs will not be funded in FY 2016-17. Mr. Levine responded to questions from the committee.
Mr. Levine discussed funding requests for DNR in FY 2017-18 and distributed a summary of those requests (Attachment G). These requests include funding for water resources, the Colorado Water Conservation Board, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and the Executive Director's office.
Bill Ryan, Director, Colorado State Land Board, introduced himself to the committee and discussed the role of the State Land Board. The board manages approximately 3 million surface acres of land, which are leased for agricultural, recreational, commercial real estate, rights-of-way, renewable energy, and other uses. Additionally, the board manages approximately four million acres of mineral estate, which are leased for oil, natural gas, coal, and other solid mineral extraction uses. He stated the board is governed by a five-member board of commissioners as well as Director King and briefly described the goals and metrics of the board. Mr. Ryan responded to questions from the committee regarding the inspections of land leased by the board and the price of land that the board leases versus the market value of similar privately owned land. Committee discussion ensued.
Bob Broscheid, Director, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), goals and funding of CPW, generally. He explained how CPW supports hunting, species management programs, and other fishing and wildlife resources and explained the benchmarks and actual numbers in programs that support those programs. He also discussed CPW's increased focus on wildlife education and the expansion of the park pass program, with support from state libraries. Mr. Broscheid stated that CPW is beginning to develop the Cameo Shooting range in the town of Palisade, among other accomplishments. Mr. Broscheid explained that state park visitation has increased, while the number of hunters in the state has decreased. Mr. Broscheid stated that there have been no closures due to Aquatic Nuisance Species, citing that figure to the success of CPW's Aquatic Nuisance Species Management Program. Mr. Broscheid responded to questions from the committee regarding legislation concerning sea planes, as they relate to the ANS management program and discussed species conservation in the state. Committee discussion ensued regarding hunting and other recreation policies, especially relating to access to hunting and other outdoor recreation activities.
Matt Lepore, Director, Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC), introduced himself to the committee and described the role of the COGCC. The regulation of oil and gas exploration and production is the single major program managed by the OGCC. Mr. Lepore discussed idle well bonding and a program carried out by COGCC in accordance with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in order to reduce contamination of aquifers by hydrocarbonate poultion. Mr. Lepore discussed the location of oil and gas facilities and the actions the department has taken to reduce conflicts in that area. He discussed oil and gas permitting and well inspections. Mr. Lepore responded to questions from the committee and committee discussion ensued.
Ginny Brannon, Director, Division of Reclamation, Mining, and Safety (DRMS), introduced herself and described the mission and organization of the division. She discussed the coal industry, and how it has been impacted by a lower global demand for coal and a tightening of regulation. Ms. Brannon also discussed the DMRS mineral program and the economic impact of the mining of minerals in the state. She stated that DMRS is evolving the inspection policy in order to conduct more inspections. Ms. Brannon discussed the Inactive Mine Reclamation Program and explained the accomplishments of the program. She explained that over the next five years, hazardous-feature reclamation outputs are expected to decline due to planned decreases in federal funding.
James Eklund, Director, Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB), introduced himself to the committee. Mr. Eklund discussed priorities of the CWCB, as they relate to the Colorado Water Plan, as well as budget requests that the CWCB will be making in the upcoming session. Mr. Eklund discussed the CWCB's Instream Flow Program and responded to questions from the committee regarding the program and the implementation of the Colorado Water Plan. Mr. Eklund distributed a handout regarding an update of the implementation of the plan (Attachment H).
Dick Wolfe, State Engineer, Colorado Division of Water Resources, introduced himself to the committee and briefly described DWR and its programs -- Water Administration and Dam Safety. Generally DWR is responsible for the supervision and control of water resources in the state and is funded primarily through the General Fund. Water Administration within DWR consists of two sub-programs: administration of intrastate water rights and interstate compact enforcement. It is the statutory responsibility of DWR to verify that stream diversions are per decree, wells are operated in compliance with their permits, augmentation plans or substitute water supply plans are replacing stream depletions, and interstate compact flows are delivered to downstream states.