Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to deliberate controversial rules today |

Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to deliberate controversial rules today

Phillip YatesPost Independent StaffGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) today will deliberate some of the most controversial rules that have been proposed for the state’s oil and gas industry.Those rules center around protecting wildlife in sensitive habitats of Western Colorado and regulations surrounding waste pits and spills.The commission’s hearings over the wildlife and pit rules will be held at the Sabin-Cleere Conference Room in Building A at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, 4300 Cherry Creek Drive South in Denver. An abbreviated hearing will begin at 9 a.m. The rule-making deliberations will then begin about 10 a.m. and continue through Tuesday, according to the COGCC. The commission has tentatively approved dozens of rules for the state’s oil and gas industry, including regulations that prohibit the building of a new facility within 300 feet of a public water supply and the disclosure of chemicals used a drilling site. The first order of business the commissioners will have to look at is a motion filed by the Colorado Oil and Gas Association. That motion asks the commission to defer deliberation of the waste pit rules for further “discussions and revisions by staff.” The oil and gas industry has filed several motions during the rule-making process that have sought for the COGCC to delay consideration of certain proposed rules.COGA’s motion said that the pit rules are “equally complicated and equally deserving of more careful rule development than can be achieved by the commission’s deliberation on the current staff recommendation and party alternatives.” The motion further stated that it has taken about 10 years for the commission to refine its current pit rules and that it took New Mexico about 18 months to draft new rules on pits alone.After the commission rules on COGA’s motion, it is expected to consider the wildlife rules, which have been the most controversial rules during the state’s entire rule-making process. That was because of a 90-day drilling restriction that had been included in draft rules the state issued in late March.The restriction would have been triggered for wildlife habitat areas on the Western Slope if companies declined to do any of the following: draft comprehensive drilling plans, consult with the Division of Wildlife, limit their density in certain areas or demonstrate that their targeted drilling area has had a demonstrated lack of habitat.That rule has since been dropped from the state’s final recommendations. However, in each instance where the timing restriction would have been triggered before, the rules still include a mandatory consultation requirement in which companies must work with the DOW and attempt to agree on site-specific mitigation.Contact Phillip Yates: 384-9117pyates@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO

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