"Colorado Governor Hickenlooper’s task force was formed only because hundreds of thousands of Coloradans are outraged that communities cannot protect their homes or control fracking and oil and gas development within their boundaries. Because the task force’s recommendations don’t address these two issues, it must be judged a failure. And now we will see what hundreds of thousands outraged Coloradans will accomplish."
“The increased penalties finalized by the COGCC are a significant step in the right direction. Because of these new rules, Coloradans can hope that when oil and gas companies are caught violating the law, they’ll actually be punished. And hope that the punishment will be consistent and significant enough to deter other potential violators.
DENVER, CO -- Today Conservation Colorado, Earthworks, Sierra Club and Western Resource Advocates called on the Colorado Oil and Gas Commission to strengthen their staff’s proposed rules to implement HB 1356, bipartisan legislation Governor Hickenlooper signed into law in May to increase Colorado’s oil and gas fines and penalties for the first time in several decades. The COGCC considers finalizing the rules today and tomorrow.
Oversight failure demonstrates local jurisdictions shouldn't be stripped of oil & gas regulatory authority
Durango, CO, Mar 20th – Today Earthworks’ Oil & Gas Accountability Project released a new report, COGCC: Inadequate enforcement means current Colorado oil and gas development is irresponsible. Part of a national assessment of state oil and gas regulatory enforcement, highlights of the Colorado-specific findings include:
- As the number of wells drilled increases in Colorado, the number of inspections is decreasing.
- It is physically impossible for existing COGCC inspection staff to inspect every well once per year.
- Many rule violations are not recorded, and very few violators are penalized.
- For those who are penalized, $1000/day maximum fines are inadequate to deter irresponsible operations.
In today’s Denver Post, Mark Jaffe reports that the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission is creating two local government liaison positions. The Colorado Oil and Gas Association – the industry lobbying group - is also adding a community liaison position.
As a new drilling wave hits Colorado’s Front Range, local governments are working hard to get in front of drilling and have proper safeguards in place before it’s too late.
Unfortunately, local control is the last thing the state and the industry wants. COGA’s Tisha Schuller stated in the article that the “industry is engaging in a more meaningful way than it used to.”
This is actually a case of the oil and gas industry and the state dusting off a dirty old strategy and making it sound shiny and new and helpful.