Gibbs reflects on recent trip to D.C. | SummitDaily.com

Gibbs reflects on recent trip to D.C.

NICOLE FORMOSA

DENVER – Rep. Dan Gibbs, D-Silverthorne, spent fewer than 24 hours in Washington D.C. to testify before Congress this week, but the quick trip didn’t take anything away from the value of the experience. “It was wonderful,” Gibbs said on Wednesday afternoon. “It was just a unique opportunity, of course, especially from being a former congressional staffer to be able to be testifying- it was really unique.”Gibbs spent six years working under U.S. Rep. Mark Udall, D-Colorado.In fact, on Tuesday morning, he walked to the Longworth building, where the hearing titled “Access Denied: The Growing Conflict Between Fishing, Hunting and Energy Development on Federal Lands” was held, with Udall’s legislative director. They arrived at the building before the 10:30 a.m. scheduled hearing and were surprised to see a long line of people snaking down the hallway.”I was wondering what was going on, and all the folks were trying to get into the committee room,” Gibbs said. “I get into the committee room and the committee room is absolutely packed full of people – there wasn’t a chair available (for the public).”Gibbs said the standing room only crowd revealed to him the importance of the issues and the necessity to strike a balance between the need for wildlife habitat and oil and gas drilling.Gibbs was invited to testify at the hearing due to the success of his House Bill 1298, which would require the Colorado Oil and Gas Commission to work with the Division of Wildlife to develop best management practices for energy companies to reduce impacts to wildlife species and habitat.His bill passed the state House on Wednesday. For Gibbs’, the most enjoyable part of Tuesday’s two-hour hearing wasn’t his testimony, but rather the panel’s question and answer period, in which many of the inquiries were directed at him.People wanted to know who supported his bill, which gave him the opportunity to talk about the broad coalition of support, from the state’s oil and gas association to dozens of sportmens groups.”Many of the members of Congress viewed it as being anti oil and gas. It was really my challenge to say, ‘No, we can work together on that,'” he said.Gibbs returned to Denver Tuesday evening.Nicole Formosa can be reached at (970) 668-4629, or at nformosa@summitdaily.com.