What the New Oil and Gas Rules Mean for Coloradans

  • Oil rig Colorado

After three months of rule making, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) unanimously approved sweeping changes to reflect their new mission to protect public health, safety, and the environment from oil and gas development. These changes position Colorado as a national leader in protecting people and wildlife through commonsense oil and gas regulation. 

Join us in applauding the COGCC for their tireless work on these new, nationally leading rules! 

The COGCC’s landmark updates include:

Setbacks from Homes & Schools 

  • A new nationally leading standard requiring all new oil and gas locations to be at a minimum 2,000-feet from our homes and schools. Previously operators could drill within just a couple hundred feet. 

Environmental Justice

  • First of a kind rules that will provide expanded protections for Disproportionately Impacted Communities by defining the term and requiring greater notice and standing provisions for individuals living in those communities. 

A Ban on Venting & Flaring 

  • Establishment of a new prohibition on routine venting and flaring statewide, which will drastically aid the state in meeting its greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals. Colorado is just the second state in the nation to do so.   

Water & Wildlife Protections 

  • Expanded protections for Colorado’s wildlife and their habitat, including iconic Colorado species and habitats such as the Sage Grouse and our Gold Medal Waters. Additional protections include a new setback from public water supplies and regular groundwater testing – all of which will help in our efforts to protect 30-percent of our lands and waters by 2030.  

Cumulative Impacts Analysis 

  • A new requirement for operators to consider the complete range of impacts of oil and gas development on a wide-range of topics, including greenhouse gas emissions, water, and wildlife to ensure that development is as protective as possible of public health, safety, welfare, environment, and wildlife.  

Alternative Location Analysis

  • A new comprehensive criteria to evaluate when an operator must present other possible locations to the commission that could be more protective of public health, safety, welfare, the environment, and wildlife. 

By adopting strong rules to protect public health and safety, Colorado showed once again that bold climate and environmental solutions can and must occur in energy-producing states like ours. For the sake of our communities and wild places, it’s up to us to set the precedent for climate leadership and that when it comes to oil and gas activities, health and safety must always come first.