Agency is correct to permit more time

State gas drilling permits in Colorado will now be good for two years, instead of one, exactly the same amount of time allowed under a federal drilling permit.

That’s important, because many energy companies in Colorado drill on federal land as well as private land. And when they work on federal lands, they need a state permit as well as a federal one. It’s only sensible that the two operate for the same time period.

Additionally, as technology allows more and more wells to be drilled from a single well pad, it may not be possible to drill all of the permitted wells within one year.

The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission approved the extension of state permits from one year to two during a meeting this week, based on requests from the oil and gas industry.

A big reason that the commission was willing to consider an extension to the drilling-permit time period was the new environmental regulations adopted by the commission earlier this year.

Dave Neslin, director of the commission, noted that the new rules gave his agency more opportunity to consult with state wildlife authorities and state health officials prior to approving a drilling permit, so there is less need to re-evaluate the permits after a year.

The timing change won’t jump-start the gas industry in Colorado, which slowed significantly last year due to both national and regional issues. But it will offer more regulatory consistency to those companies wanting to drill, especially on federal lands in this state.

We applaud the Oil and Gas Commission for listening to the energy companies and making this appropriate change.


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