The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) on Monday announced a series of changes to legislation passed last spring that reflect the regulator’s new mission to “regulate” instead of “foster” oil and gas development.
Among the changes being proposed to state Senate Bill (SB) 19-181, the new rules would evaluate and address potential cumulative impacts, adopt alternative location analysis processes, expand public participation in COGCC proceedings and reform the permit process, according to the commission.
The rules also would improve protections for public health, safety, welfare and the environment, and address recordkeeping of oil and gas operations as well as reordering and cleaning up COGCC rules and definitions.
“SB 19-181 changed the mission of COGCC to put public health, safety, welfare, wildlife and the environment protections first,” said COGCC Director Jeff Robbins. The commission has filed with the Colorado Secretary of State the notice of rulemaking for the 200-600 rules.
The draft mission change rules, Robbins said, “broaden engagement with the public on all aspects of oil and gas operations as well as provide stronger protections for all of Colorado.” The commission also plans to continue “productive engagement with stakeholders to further refine the rules before the Commission hearing.”
In response to the ongoing coronavirus, and to ensure full public and stakeholder engagement, COGCC revised the March hearing agenda, moving the Wellbore Integrity rulemaking hearing to a later date and changing the format of the March commission hearing to virtual.
“It is critical that we get these rulemakings done correctly with all our partners,” Robbins said.