On 16 April, Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed Bill 181, Protect Public Welfare Oil and Gas Operations, which concerns additional public welfare protections regarding the conduct of oil and gas operations. The bill prioritizes the protection of public safety, health, welfare and the environment in the regulation of the oil an gas industry by modifying the oil and gas statute and by clarifying, reinforcing and establishing local governments’ regulatory authority over the surface impacts of oil and gas development.
According to a study by the Global Energy Management Program at the University of Colorado Denver, Business School, along with a summary released by the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, the bill could possibly have an adverse impact on oil and gas activity in the state. The reasons for this are varied and include:
- the imposition of a statewide moratorium on permitting and drilling
- would remove technical feasibility and cost-effectiveness as factors that could be considered in regulatory and permitting decisions
- would give local governments the ability to create larger setbacks
- would give sweeping, subjective new powers to local government over the oil and natural gas process
- would remove experts in engineering and geology from the COGCC, the 9-member panel responsible for making oil and gas regulatory decisions in Colorado.
The full bill can be accessed at: https://leg.colorado.gov/bills/sb19-181