Proposed bills would up fines, reduce perceived conflicts of interest
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — With many Colorado residents feeling that Gov. Hickenlooper has tilted the playing field in favor of fossil fuel development, the Colorado General Assembly will begin to explore new laws that could help balance fossil fuel extraction with public health and safety and concerns about impacts to the environment.
House Bill 13-1267 would increase the maximum daily fine for serious accidents from $1,000 to $15,000 per day and set a minimum fine of $5,000 per violation per day for violations that have a significant adverse impact on public health, safety, or welfare, including the environment. It would also repeal the cap on the maximum total fine.
House Bill 12-1269 would make it clear that the primary mission of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission is to make sure that public health and safety and natural resources are adequately protected during the course of fossil fuel development. It also addresses the inherent conflict of interest that currently exists on the commission by prohibiting future commissioners from being employees, officers, or directors of oil and gas companies. Continue reading “Colorado lawmakers aim to tighten oil and gas regs”→
Town seeks to protect health and well-being of residents; critics say local bans violate state law
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — Creating yet another headache for Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper’s pro-fracking administration, Fort Collins this week voted to ban oil and gas exploration — including hydraulic fracturing — within city limits.
The 5-2 city council vote came after a several hours of citizen testimony, with a large majority of residents apparently in favor of a drilling ban. To become final, the ordinance must be passed by another vote in a few weeks.
Industry leader caught making inaccurate statements about oil and gas drilling impacts to groundwater
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — The public relations war over recent statements by Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and oil and gas industry officials continued this week, as community activists pointed out yet another misleading and inaccurate statement about the impacts of fossil fuel development.
SUMMIT COUNTY — A proposed new set of EPA air quality regulations would dramatically reduce impacts from energy development by requiring the capture of 95 percent of harmful smog-forming emissions from oil and gas drilling operations.
The proposal includes the review of four rules for the oil and natural gas industry: a new source performance standard for VOCs; a new source performance standard for sulfur dioxide; an air toxics standard for oil and natural gas production; and an air toxics standard for natural gas transmission and storage.
According to the EPA, the new rules are based on proven technologies that are already in use today. The agency says the reductions can be achieved by capturing natural gas that currently escapes into the air, and making that gas available for sale. The rules also would reduce emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, and air toxics, which are known or suspected of causing cancer and other serious health effects.