“After Colorado Lawmakers Usher In Sweeping Oil And Gas Rules, It’ll Be Up To COGCC’s Jeff Robbins To Implement Them”
By Grace Hood, Colorado Public Radio 4/11/19
Below is a list of key points relevant to impacted residents from a 10 minute Colorado Matters interview with Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) Director Jeff Robbins. You can also listen to it here: https://www.cpr.org/news/story/after-colorado-lawmakers-usher-in-sweeping-oil-and-gas-regulations-itll-be-up-to-jeff
A few key points from the interview regarding how the COGCC will change because of the passage of SB19-181 are:
– The makeup of the COGCC will reduce the industry representatives from 3 to 1 among the 9 commissioners. “We’re working hard with the administration to get that new commission up and going so that we can hold our delayed April hearing sometime in early May.”
– The mission will change from one to “foster oil and gas development but instead it will regulate oil and gas development in a manner that is protective of public health, safety, welfare and the environment. And I think having this new nine-member commission with the various prisms they’re bringing to the decisions of the commission is important.”
– Director Robbins identified the rulemaking priorities in the first year as:
– making flowline information public
– changing the focus to health, safety and welfare
– alternative site analysis
– cumulative impacts
– redefining the state-local relationship.
He also said that the Air Quality Commission will be doing rulemaklng in the next few months.
– He said that the COGCC will be able to continue reviewing the backlog of 6000 permits while doing rulemaking.
– Erie Trustee Christiaan van Woudenberg states that the qualifier “necessary and reasonable” applied to local control will result in “lawyers will decide what that means and the problem is that these oil and gas companies have access to resources magnitudes beyond a town council like Erie.” Director Robbins responds, “I don’t think so.” He thinks that local governments will understand how to regulate in a “necessary and reasonable manner.”
– CPR interviewer Ryan Warner asked, “Some activists have criticized the COGCC for not scrutinizing permits enough, particularly those close to homes. Do you think that criticism has been justified?” Director Robbins did not answer that question and instead stated that he is “looking forward” to implementing the mandate of the bill.