Some take issue with oil, gas rule training process |

Some take issue with oil, gas rule training process

Pete Fowler
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

RIFLE, Colorado ” Some energy industry representatives say the state isn’t allowing enough time for them to learn new Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission rules.

They also say the COGCC should allow them to ask questions at an upcoming two-day training session in Grand Junction March 16.

Wayne Bankert, senior regulatory and environmental coordinator for Laramie Energy II, said the training session would be basically meaningless without opportunity for questions and answers.

COGCC environmental protection specialist Chris Canfield said the training session is “going to take two full days, literally,” and “there simply wasn’t enough time to have a live Q and A period.”

Bankert said the training should have begun Jan. 1. Canfield said the rulemaking wasn’t far enough along at that point.

Bankert said, “Then I can make the argument that the implementation time is too early.”

His comment drew applause from a crowd at the Northwest Colorado Oil and Gas Forum in Rifle Thursday. The rules are expected to go into effect as early as May 1 on federal lands and April 1 everywhere else.

Canfield offered to pass on Bankert’s sentiment in Denver but said he would be blunt in stating the plan for the training session probably won’t change.

“The state’s not even ready,” Bankert said after the forum. “If they’re unprepared, how can we be prepared?”

Earlier in the discussion, Canfield said seats can’t be reserved and the training session will be on a “first-come, first-serve” basis. A man in the audience worried the training would be “like Wal-Mart the day after Thanksgiving” with several hundred people trying to get in.

The Grand Valley Citizens Alliance, part of Western Colorado Congress, planned to testify before the legislative Legal Services Committee in Denver today in support of the new rules. Today’s hearing, and subsequent approvals in the state Legislature, would be the final steps in approving the 177 pages of rules, which are meant to offer increased protection for wildlife, the environment and public health.

GVCA spokesperson Duke Cox said at least six people including Leslie Robinson, Tara Meixell and New Castle Town Councilor Greg Russi were planning on testifying at the hearing today.

“We just want to make sure that if the legislators want to hear Western Colorado’s and Garfield County’s voice, they’re going to hear it,” Cox said in an interview. “We want the Legislature to understand why the rules were promulgated in the first place. It was the people of Colorado that wanted these rules, not Bill Ritter.”

People shouldn’t have to worry about toxic chemicals in frac’ing fluid getting into their water wells, Cox said in a statement.

At the oil and gas forum, someone had put up signs saying things like, “Ritter’s rules are killing my job.” and “Ritter’s rules = recession.”

OXY operations manager Doug Weaver said at the oil and gas forum, “The rules have some effect on the activity here this year, but we’ll be here for the long term.”

Contact Pete Fowler: 384-9121

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