On March 20 Earthworks’ Oil & Gas Accountability Project released a new report, COGCC: Inadequate enforcement means current Colorado oil and gas development is irresponsible.
Part of a national assessment of state oil and gas regulatory
enforcement, highlights of the Colorado-specific findings include:
- As the number of wells drilled increases in Colorado, the number of inspections is decreasing.
- It is physically impossible for existing Colorado Oil and Gas
Conservation Commission (COGCC) inspection staff to inspect every well
once per year.
- Many rule violations are not recorded, and very few violators are penalized.
- For those who are penalized, $1000/day maximum fines are inadequate to deter irresponsible operations.
“The COGCC’s mission is to foster responsible oil and gas development
by balancing drilling with protection of landowners, public health and
the environment,” said Gwen Lachelt, Earthworks’ OGAP director. “Right
now, the COGCC’s rules, like its mission statement, are just empty words
on a page. There is no balance here,” she said.