Oil and fuel business helps extra management for Colorado’s native governments as COGCC revamps guidelines


After years of beating again makes an attempt by native governments to manage oil and fuel, business representatives spoke out Tuesday in favor of native management in response to proposed statewide guidelines.
Colorado’s two largest producers, Occidental Petroleum and Noble Vitality, informed the Colorado Oil and Fuel Conservation Fee that beneath a legislation overhauling oil and fuel guidelines, the state ought to defer to cities and counties in relation to regulation of the above-ground impacts of oil and fuel.
“The COGCC ought to defer to native authorities on siting choices so long as such choices shield well being, security, welfare and wildlife,” mentioned Kimberly Mendoza Cooke, with Occidental.
Mendoza Cooke added that she encourages the COGCC “to have continuous and significant engagement all through the native authorities assessment.”
Earlier than passage of Senate Invoice 181, the business opposed strikes by some cities and counties to impose their very own guidelines, citing court docket choices that prohibited native governments from pre-empting state legislation. The adjustments accredited final yr eradicated that prohibition.
Joel Minor, an assistant lawyer basic, mentioned beneath the brand new legislation, the COGCC and native governments have “co-equal and impartial authority” to manage the floor impacts of oil and fuel.
Nonetheless, Matt Lepore, an lawyer and former COGCC director, mentioned removing of that prohibition in addition to new language imply the state can’t overrule native choices until they’d endanger public well being and the atmosphere.
“We imagine that the statute offers the state and native governments the identical regulatory normal to fulfill, that they’ve to manage to guard and reduce hostile impacts. But when they meet that, they will meet that in numerous methods,” mentioned Lepore, who’s representing the Western and Rural Native Authorities Coalition.
The extent of the authority granted to native governments beneath SB181 is an overarching concern because the COGCC considers a collection of proposals to implement the legislation. The invoice modified the mission of the fee from fostering oil and fuel improvement to regulating it in a method that protects public well being and security and the atmosphere.
The legislation didn’t change the truth that the COGCC alone has the ability to manage underground actions, equivalent to drilling. It did increase native governments’ skill to manage the floor impacts of improvement in response to years of complaints that the state wasn’t doing sufficient to guard the general public and atmosphere.
Oil and fuel firms should get permits from each the state and native governments that need to regulate oil and fuel.
“SB181 is a change by way of what our relationship to native governments is and offers the chance, in my estimation, for extra collaboration,” mentioned Julie Murphy, COGCC director. “However we additionally must proceed to train our personal particular person judgment.”
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Trade representatives and a number of other native governments, together with Colorado’s two high energy-producers, Weld and Garfield counties, contend that the COGCC can’t implement statewide requirements for things like nicely location. They are saying the brand new legislation granted oversight of above-ground impacts of oil and fuel to cities and counties. They argue {that a} statewide, one-size-fits-all strategy might end in pointless, pricey necessities, particularly in rural areas.
Jane Bauder, a Logan County commissioner, spoke up for the oil and fuel business in Monday’s listening to.
“We respect these firms and their staff, they usually’re an important a part of our financial system,” Bauder mentioned. “We’re going to have big deficits in our finances if we put unrealistic and monetary burdensome necessities in place that damage our small operators.”


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