CO Oil and Gas Comn Releases Draft Protection Rules

April 1, 2008

On March 31 the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission issued draft rules that would start balancing wildlife protection in conjunction with oil and gas development.  Here is hte press release issued by CWF, CEC.  See also the link to the draft rule under News.

 

 
 
Subject: [oil&gas] RELEASE: State oil and gas commission releases revised 
oil and gas protections   
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:   
March 31, 2008 
CONTACT:   
Suzanne O'Neill, Colorado Wildlife Federation, 303-919-3949 
Elise Jones, Colorado Environmental Coalition, 303-885-4273 
Lisa Bracken, Silt landowner, 970-379-9113 
 
State oil and gas commission releases revised oil and gas protections 
DENVER, Colo. - Proponents of responsible energy development expressed 
initial encouragement for a revised state proposal to strengthen protections 
for Colorado's water, wildlife and communities threatened by an 
unprecedented oil and gas drilling boom. However, advocates stated there 
were several key issue areas with ample room for improvement by state 
officials.    
   
On Monday, the Colorado Department of Natural Resources released an updated 
proposal for improving the way oil and gas development is managed in the 
state.   
   
"We're encouraged that the state listened carefully to the input of all 
stakeholders, including industry, and made changes to their initial proposal 
 
that still result in greater protections for Colorado's water, wildlife and 
communities," said Elise Jones, executive director of the Colorado 
Environmental Coalition. 
  
The rules call for:   
.      The disclosure of chemicals that drillers use and inject into the 
ground     
.      Stronger limits on drilling near public water supplies   
.      Stronger restrictions on oil and gas waste pits and better reporting 
requirements for spills of waste fluids like those occurring recently on the 
 
Roan Plateau 
.      Stronger protections for wildlife, including seasonal drilling 
"time-outs" and restrictions on maximum well densities in critical wildlife 
habitat. 
   
However, advocates for the groups said key aspects of the rules were not 
strong enough, and that more work is needed to improve them. For example, 
recent spills from overflowing waste pits near the Roan Plateau demonstrate 
that pit-less drilling operations should be mandatory in watersheds that 
supply public drinking water. The groups said they will carefully review 
proposed wildlife protections to ensure they actually protect species like 
mule deer, elk, sage grouse and cutthroat trout. And they will seek to 
ensure that comprehensive development plans are done consistently to lessen 
the cumulative damage caused by the drilling boom. 
  
"During the first quarter of this year, drilling permit applications are up 
one third over the first quarter of last year," said Suzanne O'Neill, 
executive director of the Colorado Wildlife Federation. "We're eager to 
examine the draft to ensure it has both strong protections and incentives 
for operators to minimize harm to our world-class wildlife resources."   
   
In the coming months, the groups said they will develop more specific 
recommendations for the state to ensure these rules work to protect the 
things that make Colorado a wonderful place to live. 
   
"There's still a long road ahead, but clearly Gov. Ritter and his 
administration understands that the people of Colorado want drilling to be 
conducted responsibly," said Lisa Bracken, a Silt landowner. "We're glad to 
see landowners have real voice in process and we look forward to seeing 
these protections strengthened in the coming months." 
   
   
   
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