People in western Colorado will get the chance Wednesday to offer oil and gas regulators their thoughts on how to implement Senate Bill 181, the new legislation making widespread changes to how the industry is governed in the state.
The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission will be holding its monthly meeting in Glenwood Springs Wednesday and Thursday. This will be the first meeting it is holding outside Denver to get input on the SB 181 rulemaking process. Other meetings also are planned in Boulder and Weld counties.
Weld County leads the state in oil and gas wells and drilling activity, with Garfield County ranking second in those categories.
SB 181 requires the commission to change its mission from fostering oil and gas development to protecting public health, safety and welfare, along with the environment and wildlife. It also includes numerous other provisions such as explicitly authorizing local governments to regulate surface aspects of oil and gas development, and it requires regulators to consider cumulative impacts of oil and gas development.
Altogether, the COGCC expects to undertake about a dozen rulemakings to implement the new law. The state Air Quality Control Commission also is going through SB 181 rulemaking proceedings.
The oil and gas commission will be meeting Wednesday and Thursday at the Hotel Colorado, 526 Pine St. in Glenwood.
Wednesday's meeting starts at 9 a.m. The day's agenda includes a general public comment session scheduled for 11:25 a.m. At 1 p.m., comments will be accepted on the agency mission change rulemaking. Comments will be taken starting at 2 p.m. on the cumulative impact rulemaking, 3:15 p.m. on rulemaking pertaining to analysis of alternative oil and gas locations as required by the new law, and 4:30 p.m. on rulemaking to amend the agency's rules pertaining to oil and gas flowlines from wells.
"The COGCC (c)ommissioners and I are committed to working with all stakeholders to learn their priorities and input during the SB 181 rulemaking process," agency Director Jeff Robbins said in a news release. "The Western Slope has unique issues and concerns and we are here to hear their voice."
Thursday's agenda as of Friday included a morning closed-door meeting on a legal matter, and a field tour of Garfield County oil and gas facilities, during which no business will be conducted and no public comments will be accepted.
More information on participating in the Glenwood Springs meeting or future meetings may be found at https://cogcc.state.co.us/#/home. That site also contains information on online forms people can use to request times to present comments during the comment periods. Comments also may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The oil and gas commission has been broadcasting its meetings via its YouTube channel, but says YouTube's terms of services have been updated, making those meeting broadcasts no longer possible. The agency is looking for an alternative broadcast provider, but in the meantime will be using Zoom for remote public access to its Glenwood Springs meeting. Zoom call-in information for the meeting can be found on the COGCC website.