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Defending Strong Oil And Gas Safety Laws In Colorado

Flaring in gas wells in Rifle, CO.

Flaring in gas wells in Rifle, CO.

Photo courtesy of Ecoflight

What's at Stake

After strong safety laws for oil and gas drilling were issued in Colorado, industry fought hard to undo them. Earthjustice defended the important rules and continues working to ensure they are strengthened.

Case Overview

In 2007, after an extensive process that involved input from conservationists, ranchers, hunters and businesses, the Colorado Oil and Gas Commission proposed rules to ensure safer oil and gas drilling in the state. The oil and gas industry quickly bit back, challenging the rules as flawed despite having had ample opportunity to participate in their creation.

Earthjustice defended the balanced, common sense rules, which create critical protections for public health, air and water quality and sensitive wildlife. In the years since the rules were issued and challenged by industry, there have been positive developments—requirements to disclose chemicals used in fracking and promising efforts to reduce air pollution such as methane and volatile organic compounds, for example. Nonetheless, more work remains, so Earthjustice is continuing its legal campaign to ensure all oil and gas drilling in the state is done transparently, safely and in accordance with the law.

Case ID



Case Updates

February 12, 2014 | Blog Post

Colorado Tackles Rules Governing Oil, Gas

Colorado has emerged as a western ground zero in the fracking boom, with more than 50,000 active wells in the state and 3,000 wells permitted annually on average in recent years. The state is struggling to deal with this staggering growth as well as the changing nature of the industry as operations have moved into communities along the Front Range.

March 7, 2013 | In the News: The Denver post

Colorado rule change may relax air pollution reporting requirements

Colorado is considering making changes to its air pollution regulations that would include raising the allowable threshold from two to twenty-five tons of emissions per year, loosening requirements for pollution reporting.

"We need to get numbers as to what the impact of the permitting change would be," said Earthjustice attorney Mike Freeman. "If we're trying to get control of emissions from the oil and gas sector, we don't want to undercut that effort by removing a whole bunch of sources from air permitting requirements."

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