The Oil and Gas Conservation Act governs oil and gas development in Colorado. The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) is responsible for promulgating rules to regulate oil and gas development in Colorado. The oil and gas industry is subject to numerous federal laws as well.
Colorado’s oil and gas rules are continually referred to as the strongest in the nation. Detailed rules can be found here, but here are some of examples of how industry regulations have been tightened over the years:
- In 2008 COGCC rules were overhauled, including changes to the make-up of the state’s oil and gas regulatory and health agencies to include specific voices to advocate for environmental, conservation, wildlife and public health values.
- In December 2011, the COGCC passed a Hydraulic Fracturing Disclosure Rule that requires public disclosure of the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing. Disclosures are available to the public at www.Fracfocus.org
- In January 2013, the COGCC approved the most rigorous statewide mandatory groundwater sampling and monitoring rules in the United States, which includes sampling before, during and after a well has been completed.
- In February 2013, the COGCC voted to approve new setback rules to mitigate perceived effects of drilling near buildings. The rules increase setback distances for all oil and gas locations within 1,000 feet of occupied buildings. The rules also enhance notice to and communication with building owners within 1,000 feet of occupied buildings.
- In 2014, Colorado became the first state to regulate methane as it pertains to oil and gas operations. At the time, Environmental Defense Fund Director Dan Grossman said “These rules show we can make good progress toward realizing the climate benefits of natural gas and demonstrate that oil and gas development and protecting the environment are not mutually exclusive.”
- Additionally in 2014, HB 1356 updated the current COGCC fine structure, increasing oil and gas fines by over 1500%.