Anti-fracking protest group Colorado Rising has filed suit against the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) in the hopes of putting a complete stop to any more drilling permits until regulations are rewritten to take into account new legislation, SB-181.
SB-181 Strikes Again
In a suit filed on Wednesday, infamous anti-fracking group Colorado Rising demanded that a judge put a halt to any and all new drilling permits issued by the COGCC. The rabble-rousing nonprofit claims that any new permits violate recently-minted state law Senate Bill 19-181.
In legislation passed earlier this year, a freshman administration in the Colorado statehouse implemented sweeping reforms to the oil and gas industry. Chief among those changes was the transformation of the COGCC from a government body focused on the promotion of oil and gas to one focused on regulation.
Political Limbo in Colorado
To date, the new regulations have not been handed down. Since the state’s oil and gas industry couldn’t shut down while the new group of bureaucrats in the COGCC attempts to hammer out a new set of oil guidelines, a stop-gap measure was implemented.
A set of 16 rules has been handed down as a way to allow the COGCC to let businesses keep doing business. And here’s where Colorado Rising comes in.
The anti-energy group was livid as they claimed that new drilling permits were still being handed out at the same level they were being handed out before the passage of SB-181.
Former state House Representative, and lead attorney for Colorado Rising, Joe Salazar, said, “I’m really sick and tired of the hubris and just the sheer belligerence of the administration in not recognizing that the constitutional rights of these residents is something that is paramount.”
Too Many Companies Adhering to the Rules
When it was implemented, the politicians backing SB181 were open about their goal: to regulate the development of oil and gas in the state of Colorado. When the Colorado government said “regulate,” it would seem that anti-oil activists like Colorado Rising heard “eradicate.”
SB-181 was a tough pill for the industry to swallow, but it’s the law, and the industry has adapted accordingly. Almost as soon as SB-181 was legalized, the oil and gas industry moved to adhere to the new rules. As a result — as stringent as they are — the amount of drilling permits allowed by the state has increased.
Have they increased to pre-SB-181 levels? No way. The COGCC says that claim is an exaggeration on the part of Colorado Rising. The industry is adapting, however. And that’s something Colorado Rising simply can’t seem to accept.
If Colorado Rising is successful, new permits would be put on hold until next July at the earliest.