The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission passed a series of rules Tuesday (and I nearly missed the news) that addresses the impact that oil and gas drilling has on Colorado. The rules were established in response to a 2007 law passed by the Colorado Democratic-led legislature requiring oil and gas development to be balanced against protection of public health, the environment and wildlife.
The Grand Junction Sentinel article I link to above is kind of light on details beyond that general statement – big surprise, I know. A lot of the article is spent on a single issue that didn’t garner unanimous approval. One substantial item that the article does bring up is the following:
Commissioners are scheduled to continue their final deliberations through Thursday. Two key areas still awaiting final action involve wildlife protections and stricter drilling pit requirements.
I know there has been some real debate surrounding those wildlife protections. One recommendation included limited oil and gas well drilling during small portions of wildlife cycles. Those restrictions could have easily been exempted if operators could demonstrate a small impact on wildlife. As with almost any issue, the oil and gas industry screamed to everybody listening that it would mean the downfall of their industry in the state. In fact, they were threatening to pull up stakes and move to more “business-friendly” states. The Commission responded as most regulators do by backing off the recommendation, despite proof of current and real impacts on wildlife. It’s another reason I want to see the oil and gas industry’s influence lessen and end one day. Getting everything they want is the only form of compromise they understand. Fine, when they’re irrelevant, it won’t matter what they want.
Since the corporate media article is light on details, I’m going to have to do some research to find what rules were passed and give my take on what I think they mean. Of course, a couple of decisions haven’t been made yet, so maybe the Sentinel will write a more detailed article when everything is settled. In any event, I’ll return to this subject as soon as I have those details.