Report: Inadequate enforcement causes irresponsible oil and gas development

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Earthworks press release

New report shows COGCC fails to enforce its own rules:
516 oil & gas spills in 2011, only 5 fines assessed

Oversight failure demonstrates local jurisdictions
shouldn’t be stripped of oil & gas regulatory authority

Durango, CO, Mar 20th – Today Earthworks’ Oil & Gas Accountability Project released a new report, COGCC: Inadequate enforcement means current Colorado oil and gas development is irresponsible. Part of a national assessment of state oil and gas regulatory enforcement, highlights of the Colorado-specific findings include:

  • As the number of wells drilled increases in Colorado, the number of inspections is decreasing.
  • It is physically impossible for existing COGCC inspection staff to inspect every well once per year.
  • Many rule violations are not recorded, and very few violators are penalized.
  • For those who are penalized, $1000/day maximum fines are inadequate to deter irresponsible operations.

“The COGCC’s mission is to foster responsible oil and gas development by balancing drilling with protection of landowners, public health, and the environment, “said Gwen Lachelt, Earthworks’ OGAP Director. “Right now, the COGCC’s rules, like its mission statement, are just empty words on a page. There is no balance here,” she said.

Read the rest of the press release HERE.

If enforcement is this bad in Colorado, can you image what a report like this about Texas enforcement would reveal?

About Sharon Wilson

Sharon Wilson is considered a leading citizen expert on the impacts of shale oil and gas extraction. She is the go-to person whether it’s top EPA officials from D.C., national and international news networks, or residents facing the shock of eminent domain and the devastating environmental effects of natural gas development in their backyards.

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