The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) has asked for public input over a draft set of objectives and a guidance document to a new state law that calls for fundamental changes to the agency.
COGCC Director Jeff Robbins said he intends to move quickly in implementing Senate Bill 181, which was signed into law by Gov. Jared Polis last week. Robbins wants to finalize the objective criteria following public comment on or before May 16. Comments must be submitted by 5 p.m. April 29.
Robbins noted that the draft criteria will set guidelines under which he may conduct additional analysis and review on projects and permits. He has also released additional guidance on surface and drilling permits, which will help inform the public on how the new oil and gas law will be incorporated into COGCC proceedings.
Colorado Oil and Gas Association (COGA) spokesman Scott Prestidge said the industry group will be diving into the detail of the COGCC's proposed draft criteria over the next few days before they make any definitive comments publicly. At the same time, Colorado Petroleum Council (CPC) spokesman Ben Marter said his group is reviewing the draft criteria and guidance and will participate in the public comment period this week.
"We should have a better idea of how industry will approach this later in the week," Marter said. Both COGA and CPC have strongly opposed the law.
In the days ahead, Robbins indicated he will also be conducting additional outreach with other stakeholders and interested parties.
"It is important for both oil and gas operators and members of the public that the Commission moves quickly," Robbins said. "The sooner we can incorporate the law's tenets of including new public health, safety and environmental standards in our review of permits, the sooner we can provide certainty to the oil and gas industry, stakeholders and the public."