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03/16/2009

Colorado House Passes New Oil and Gas Rules

The oil and gas industry has been booming in the American West in recent years.  In Colorado alone the number of drilling permits has increased by more than 600 percent since 1999.  Unfortunately, this has been a win primarily for industry.  Many of the protections put in place by the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) to protect public health, water, and wildlife are 30 years old.

Oil and gas

Last Friday, the Colorado House approved HB 1292, a practically commonsense bill that updates these antiquated rules.  Make no mistake, however, the industry is crying foul.  They claim this move will further hurt the already depressed local economy.  Opponents of the rule swarmed the Capitol in Denver during the debate, some even claiming that fear of the new rules was contributing to the recent pullback in drilling activity.  This, of course, is a ridiculous claim.  As anyone who has ever taken a basic economics course can tell you, drilling is decreasing nationwide due to the steep drop in demand and the resulting lower energy prices.

HB 1292 is a balanced bill that works to protect Colorado's economy and environment.  It includes new wildlife habitat protections,  odor controls, pit lining requirements, and chemical reporting regulations.  The new rules will most likely take place this spring, after a final review by the House and Senate approval. 

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