Pit liners to be treated as solid waste
By Summit Voice
The Colorado Petroleum Association this week withdrew its petition to roll back one of Colorado’s landmark 2008 oil and gas regulations. Specifically, Rule 905 requires companies to dispose of the pit liners in accordance with state solid waste laws.
The CPA pit liner petition was withdrawn at the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission’s (COGCC) regular meeting on Monday.
“CPA should be commended for its willingness to work within existing COGCC rules,” said Earthjustice staff attorney Michael Freeman. “Rule 905 simply requires oil and gas companies to play by the same rules that apply to other industries doing business in Colorado. Those environmental laws protect Colorado communities, our drinking water, and our land.”
New and more environmentally-protective oil and gas regulations were put into place in Colorado in 2008. CPA’s petition, filed in March 2010, represented the first major attempt to roll back one of the rules. Earthjustice opposed the petition on behalf of the Colorado Environmental Coalition and other conservation and sportsmen’s groups.
CPA’s petition argued that pit liners are exempt from federal environmental law (which is incorporated into Colorado state law) as “Exploration and Production waste” (“E & P waste”). In response, Earthjustice requested an opinion letter from the United States EPA on that issue. On September 15, 2010, EPA ruled that pit liners are not exempt as E & P waste. The agency squarely rejected CPA’s argument stating, “the synthetic pit liners used in E&P operations are not covered by the E&P exemption.”
In announcing the withdrawal of its petition, CPA indicated that it is working to develop an approach with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to address its pit liners under current Colorado solid waste laws. Earthjustice will continue to monitor that process to ensure that CPA identifies an environmentally sound solution.
Filed under: Colorado, energy, Environment, gas drilling, oil drilling Tagged: | Colorado, energy, Environment, Natural gas, oil and gas, Summit County News, United States, United States Environmental Protection Agency