Five questions for the director of the COGCC

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Joel Dyer

At 9:05 a.m. on July 31, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) will be holding a public meeting at CU School of Public Affairs in the Terrace Room, 1380 Lawrence St. #500 in Denver. It is my hope that at this meeting, Jeff Robbins, the director of the COGCC will be asked a few simple questions that will tell us everything we need to know about him, and the guy who appointed him to his current position, Governor Jared Polis.

First question: Do you believe global warming is real and impacted by human activity? 

Second question: Do you believe that global warming is a threat to the environment and/or the public’s health and welfare?

Question number three: Do you believe that oil and gas extraction and the subsequent burning of fossil fuels contributes to the problem of global warming? 

These are all basic yes-or-no questions that anyone who is not an actual climate change denier will answer in the affirmative. To say no to any of these questions would put Robbins in opposition to nearly every climate scientist in the world, the platform of the Democratic Party and the stated public positions of his boss, Polis. So, assuming his answers are yes, yes and yes, there is just one more question he needs to answer.

Last question: Do you agree that SB 181 — the bill recently signed by Polis as he was declaring the oil and gas wars over — makes it allowable and the responsibility of the COGCC to restrict the production of oil and gas in Colorado “from a formation if necessary to protect public health, safety, and welfare, the environment, or wildlife resources” as the wording in the bill states?

Which, of course, brings us back to the first three questions. 

Based upon the language in SB 181, it shouldn’t be possible for the director of the COGCC or the governor of Colorado for that matter, to answer yes to the first three questions followed by a no to the fourth. 

If the director of the COGCC is not allowing local governments to block future permits for oil wells based on their negative impacts on global warming, which has adverse impacts on the environment and human health and welfare, then the director of the COGCC would appear to be failing to enforce the law as amended by SB 181. 

Polis appointed Robbins and Polis is therefore responsible for Robbins’ actions as director. If we have learned anything in the Trump era, it’s watch what politicians do not what they say.