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S_AGR_2017A 12/21/2017 01:33:22 PM Committee Summary

Final

STAFF SUMMARY OF MEETING



COMMITTEE ON JOINT AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES

Date: 12/21/2017
ATTENDANCE
Time: 01:33 PM to 05:24 PM
Baumgardner
X
Becker J.
E
Place:
Buck
E
Cooke
*
This Meeting was called to order by
Coram
X
Senator Sonnenberg
Danielson
X
Donovan
E
This Report was prepared by
Esgar
E
Meghan MacKillop
Fenberg
E
Fields
X
Garcia
E
Hansen
X
Jones
X
Lebsock
E
Lewis
E
Marble
*
McKean
X
Mitsch Bush
E
Saine
E
Scott
E
Valdez
X
Willett
E
Arndt
X
Sonnenberg
X
X = Present, E = Excused, A = Absent, * = Present after roll call, R = Remote Participation
Bills Addressed: Action Taken:
Presentation from Office of the State Auditor

SMART Act Presentation from Department of Natural Resources

SMART Act Presentation from Department of Agriculture
Witness Testimony and/or Committee Discussion Only

Witness Testimony and/or Committee Discussion Only

Witness Testimony and/or Committee Discussion Only





01:33 PM -- Presentation from Office of the State Auditor



Representatives of the Office of the State Auditor (OSA) introduced themselves and explained the duties of OSA. OSA distributed copies of the OSA Informational Report on the Status of Outstanding Audit Recommendations (Attachment A), a highlight sheet regarding the audit of Colorado Parks and Wildlife and Great Outdoors Colorado (Attachment B), a highlight sheet regarding the audit of the State Board of Land Commissioners (Attachment C), and the OSA Annual report for FY 2016-17, which can be found here: https://leg.colorado.gov/sites/default/files/2016_annual_report_final_for_webpage_1.pdf. (AttachA)



171221 AttachB.pdf171221 AttachB.pdf171221 AttachC.pdf171221 AttachC.pdf



01:36 PM



Trey Stanley, OSA, explained the recent audit of Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) and Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW). Mr. Stanely stated that CPW and GOCO agree with the OSA recommendations. Mr. Stanley responded to questions from the committee regarding GOCO funding being used for CPW facilities and the target audience of recently aired GOCO television advertisements.



01:48 PM



Anita Franz, OSA, gave a brief background of the Sate Land Board and provided the committee and overview of the audit of the land board. She explained that the audit was recommended by the legislature and that there were some aspects examined by OSA where OSA found no recommendations. She stated that the land board will be reporting back to the state audit committee in June 2018 to determine if the board needs further statutory direction on determining the fiscal impact of land sales. With regards to leases in the Stewardship Trust, the OSA found that the board did not have management plans for any of the 104 properties in the trust or stewardship-specific lease terms for any of the 113 grazing leases within the trust. Ms. Franz responded to questions from the committee regarding state land board grazing leases. She also responded to questions regarding the sample size taken in the audit, stating that sample sizes typically begin small and are increased if warranted. Ms. Franz responded to questions regarding potential conflicts of interest within the state land board, specifically annual disclosures and the review of disclosures.



02:03 PM



Ms. Dorsey, OSA, discussed the annual report of outstanding audit recommendations of agencies overseen by the committee. Ms. Dorsey discussed the outstanding recommendations related to the State Fair and outstanding recommendations for the Dam Safety Program in the Division of Water Resources, within the Department of Natural Resources. Ms. Dorsey responded to questions regarding the process of financial and performance audits.



02:15 PM



Ms. Franz responded to questions regarding the 3 outstanding recommendations pertaining to the Dam Safety Program.





02:21 PM -- SMART Act Presentation from Department of Natural Resources



Bob Randall, Executive Director, Department of Natural Resources (DNR), introduced himself to the committee and provided a brief overview of DNR. Committee received the department's FY 2017-18 Performance Plan (Attachment D). Mr. Randall described challenges that DNR is currently facing, including rapid population growth, a decrease in Severance Tax funding, federal partnerships and funding, and environmental trends.



https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/torid-heat-3070.appspot.com/o/Resources%2FFY2017-18DNRPerformancePlan.pdf?alt=media&token=bc6f703a-53a8-4337-a5e6-14de23943271 (AttachD)



02:31 PM



Bill Levine, Budget Director, DNR, introduced himself to the committee, and gave the committee an update on the Severance Tax Operational Fund. Mr. Levine stated that year to date Severance Tax revenue is at $18 million, a great shortfall from earlier projections. Additionally, he stated that the revenue stream from severance tax has been permanently depleted and the Operational Fund is projected to run out of money at the end of FY 2017-18. Mr. Levine stated that programs funded through the Severance Tax Operational Fund are in danger of not being funded at all. Moreover, Tier II programs are not being funded this year or in the foreseeable future.



02:38 PM



Mr. Levine discussed a recent rule change by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) raising the current mill levy for oil and gas production. Mr. Levine explained that the COGCC is currently spending more than the mill levy is bringing in, and an increase in the mill levy will offset that spending. Mr. Levine responded to questions from the committee regarding the disparities in forecasts of Severance Tax Revenue. Mr. Levine responded to further questions regarding the revenue collected by the proposed mill levy, specifically how a raise in the mill levy would be affected by TABOR.



02:51 PM



Tobin Follenweider, Cheif Operating Officer, DNR, introduced himself to the committee and discussed the Performance Plan for DNR.



02:55 PM



Bob Broscheid, Executive Director, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), introduced himself to the committee and discussed CPW. He stated that the majority of funding for CPW comes from hunting and fishing licenses. Mr. Broscheid discussed CPW's desired trend of stream miles and lake acreage occupied by the Greenback Cutthroat Trout and explained that CPW's goal is to recover that species and "delist" it as an endangered species. He also discussed the number of interceptions of watercraft containing aquatic nuisance species and key figures representing access of sate parks. He stated that with the introduction of CPW's new licensing system, the number of people purchasing hunting and fishing licenses will be easier to report. Mr. Broscheid responded to questions from the committee regarding the performance audit of CPW and GOCO. He also responded to questions regarding the updated hunting and fishing licensing system.





03:09 PM



Matt Lepore, Executive Director, COGCC, introduced himself to the committee and discussed the primary process of the COGCC. He discussed a recently developed online tool that provides information about all oil and gas wells and improved processes for issuing complaints. He also discussed funding that would be generated from the proposed mill levy increase. The major funding sources for the COGCC are severance tax revenue and the mil levy assessed on the value of oil and gas production. Mr. Leopre discussed the inspection process of COGCC and the process for inspections of high-priority wells inspected each year. Mr. Leopre responded to questions from the committee regarding the logging of complaints, specifically nuisance complaints. He also responded to to questions from the committee regarding the recent capping of Crestone Peak well in Aspen, which occurred near the property line of a school. Mr. Lepore responded to questions from the committee regarding the close proximity of oil and gas wells to school property.



03:31 PM



Mr. Leopre continued to respond to questions from the committee regarding resources used on false oil and gas complaints. Mr Levine responded to questions from the committee regarding tax credits being paid to oil and gas companies as a result of the decision in BP vs. Department of Revenue.



03:36 PM



Rebecca Mitchell, Executive Director, Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB), introduced herself to the committee and gave a rief overview of CWCB. She also stated that CWCB recently released a two-year progress report of the implementation of the Colorado Water Plan, which can be found here: https://cwcb.maps.arcgis.com/apps/Cascade/index.html?appid=b588bcb8451d4ae1bccabde5a05a8952. Ms. Mitchell discussed the annual water conservation projects bill, which is annually introduced. She also discussed the species conservation trust fund and critical strategies and activities of the CWCB. Ms. Mitchell responded to questions from the committee.



03:50 PM



Kevin Rein, State Engineer, Division of Water Resources (DWR), introduced himself to the committee and gave the committee and overview of DWR. Mr. Rein described the DWR's major programs, including compact enforcement, dam safety, and the administration of water rights. Mr. Rein discussed the funding of DWR.



04:00 PM



Bill Ryan, Director, State Board of Land Commissioners (State Land Board), introduced himself to the committee and provided the committee and overview of the board. He discussed the mission of the State Land Board, mainly the goal of providing funding for K-12 education. He discussed the board's strategic initiatives and revenue streams for the board. Mr. Ryan responded to questions from the committee regarding the distribution of funds generated by the board to K-12 education. Mr. Ryan discussed multiple leases on State Land Board owned properties and management plans for lease agreements. He also responded to questions from the committee regarding a potential pilot project involving using SLB land for small cabins. Mr. Ryan responded to questions from the committee regarding the performance audit of the SLB. Mr. Ryan responded to questions from the committee regarding hunting access on SLB lands and private leases on SLB lands.



04:18 PM



Mr. Ryan responded to questions from the committee regarding the distribution of funding generated by SLB leases.









04:23 PM



Ginny Brannon, Director, Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining, and Safety (DRMS), introduced herself to the committee and provided the committee with an overview of the program. She discussed how the shortfall of severance tax revenue and how that affects programs within DRMS. Ms. Brannon also discussed the DMRS Mineral Regulatory Program and the strategy of DRMS to increase the number of high priority inspections. 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 discussed legislative priorities of DRMS, including creating limited impact permits for mineral mining. Ms. Brannon responded to questions from the committee.



04:35 PM -- SMART Act Presentation from Department of Agriculture



Don Brown, Commissioner, Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA), introduced himself and gave a brief overview of the CDA. Commissioner Brown distributed a presentation regarding the department's budget and performance plan (Attachment E). The committee also received copies of the department's FY2016-17 Annual Performance Evaluation and the performance plan for FY 2018-19 (Attachments F and G). Commissioner Brown discussed the organization of CDA and briefly discussed specific programs within the department. He discussed the state of the agricultural economy in the state and public attitudes of the industry. Commissioner Brown also discussed the increased amount of farms that are closing in the state and the lack of young farmers in the industry. He also discussed the Ag Crisis program and how that is helping farmers dealing with difficult times.





171221 AttachE.pdf171221 AttachE.pdf171221 AttachF.pdf171221 AttachF.pdf

https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/sites/default/files/CDA%20FY18%20Performance%20Plan%20%286-21-17%29.pdf (AttachG)



05:01 PM



Tom Lipetzky, Director, Markets Division, introduced himself to the committee and provided the committee with an update of the department's performance plan. Mr. Lipetzky discussed the three main strategic policy initiatives of the department: enhance public understanding of Colorado agriculture; increase marketing and sales opportunities throughout the state's food and agriculture value chain; and make it easier for our customers to do business with the department. Mr. Lipetzky stated that the department is making positive progress toward achieving the strategic policy initiatives. He discussed the consolidation of CDA offices and other efficiencies the department has implemented in order to achieve these initiatives.



05:09 PM



Mr. Lipetzky responded to questions from the committee regarding Colorado's beef market and the labeling of beef produced outside of the United States. He discussed the Colorado Proud program and how the CDA is encouraging producers to enroll in that program.



05:12 PM



Commissioner Brown discussed the CDA's legislative agenda: a bill that would amend the 1939 Marketing Act to include millet; and a bill that would amend the Nursery Act to clarify which plants are regulated as nursery stock, among other provisions.









05:15 PM



Joy Huse, Chief Financial Officer, discussed CDA's FY 2018-19 budget requests. The two requests are an increase in funding and addition of FTE to provide resources for technical assistance and stakeholder engagement during the federal lands planning process; and the renewal of appropriations to continue regulating the marijuana industry.



05:18 PM



Karen Lover, Executive Assistant, CDA, discussed the department's regulatory agenda and rule-making activities of the department.



05:20 PM



Hollis Glenn, CDA, responded to questions from the committee regarding a change in protocol in the certified weighing program.



05:24 PM



The committee adjourned.




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