Jerry Sonnenberg was elected to the Colorado State Senate in 2014, representing Senate District 1. He supports studying how to profit from transferring public lands, and opposes efforts to curb methane pollution. He once claimed that the Obama Administration’s plan to protect sage grouse habitat would be harmful to sage grouse. Sonnenberg has also sponsored legislation with impacts on public lands management in Colorado.
Notable Activities and Statements on Public Lands Policy
State Senator Jerry Sonnenberg Supports Studying Public Lands Transfers
Sonnenberg Sponsored a Study on Public Lands Transfers. Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg, R-Sterling, sponsored unsuccessful Senate Bill 232 to create a commission to study the transfer of Federal lands to state control. ‘I think there’s an opportunity for us to get more money out of our federal lands, but the most important issue is how they’re managed.’ Sonnenberg said.” [Jesse Paul, “Federal court rules against Trump administration’s delay of EPA methane rules, siding with Colorado and conservation groups,”Denver Post, 07/03/17]
State Senator Jerry Sonnenberg Opposes Efforts to Limit Methane Pollution
Sonnenberg Signed Letter Endorsing Repeal of the Methane Rule. “The Republican majority in the Colorado State Senate endorsed the repeal effort of the venting and flaring rule. ‘It is clear in many cases operators will be forced to prematurely abandon wells, consequently reducing royalties to the Federal government and severance tax to the States,’ Senate President Kevin Grantham, Senate Pro Tem Jerry Sonnenberg and Senator Ray Scott, chairman of the chamber’s select committee on energy, wrote in a letter to U.S. Sens. Cory Gardner (R) and Michael Bennet (D). ‘We will not stand for additional shortages in these types of funding due to a flawed rule recklessly put in place in the last days of the Obama administration,’ the state lawmakers said.” [“Colorado’s Energy Sector, State Legislators Call For Repeal Of Obama BLM’s Methane Rule,” Western Wire, 02/23/17]
State Senator Jerry Sonnenberg Once Claimed the Obama Administration’s Plan to Protect Sage Grouse Habitat Would Harm Sage Grouse
Sonnenberg Tweeted Obama Interior Plan Was “Blueprint for Harming Sage Grouse.” In 2015, Sonnenberg tweeted that the Obama-era DOI plan for addressing the Sage Grouse declining population is “blueprint for harming the Sage Grouse” with a link to a Daily Caller article that reported on the plans. [Tweet by Jerry Sonnenberg, 11/12/15, accessed 10/21/18]
State Senator Jerry Sonnenberg Has Sponsored Legislation With Impacts on Public Lands Management in Colorado.
Sonnenberg sponsored a bill allocating lottery proceeds to preserve and improve public lands. SB 66 would reauthorize the Lottery Division and would direct up to 50 percent of proceeds to the Great Outdoors Colorado to preserve and improve upon the state’s parks, wildlife, rivers and open spaces. Forty percent of the proceeds would go to the Conservation Trust Fund and 10 percent to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife. [Sarah Tingey, “Op-Ed: Reauthorizing Lottery Division key to Colorado’s way of life,” The Daily Sentinel, 04/08/18; Op-Ed: Reauthorize Colorado’s lottery division, Denver Post, 01/18/18]
Sonnenberg sponsored a bill that would have changed how the State Land Board of Land Commissioners assesses fees when an agricultural lessee assigns his or her lease to a third party. [Bill Summary for SB 256, Colorado General Assembly]
Sonnenberg sponsored three bills aimed at limiting conservation easements. HB 1122 would have required a public accounting of conservation easements in the state. HB 1123 called for a moratorium of three years on income tax credits allowed on conservation easements while an accounting of the easements is conducted. HB 1194 would have required public hearings prior to easement grants, time limits on easements, and would have allowed landowners to transfer or cancel a conservation easement if the land trust is dissolved. [HB 1122, Colorado General Assembly; HB 1123, Colorado General Assembly; HB 1194, Colorado General Assembly]
Notable Donations to Sonnenberg by Anti-Public Lands Groups in Colorado
Since 2014, Jerry Sonneberg has taken at least $200 from Colorado Oil and Gas Association.
Jerry Sonnenberg took $200 from Colorado Oil and Gas Association in October 2014.