Colorado commission to resume hearing on oil, gas fines, penalties

Colorado’s Oil & Gas Conservation Commission was scheduled to resume a hearing at 9 a.m. MST on Jan. 5 on implementing legislation which would increase fines and penalties for companies which violate the state’s comprehensive oil and gas regulations.

COGCC recessed the proceedings after 2 days on Dec. 16 after approving all but two proposed rule changes. It planned to deal with those when the hearing resumed.

The Colorado Oil & Gas Association, meanwhile, disputed some media reports that COGCC delayed its final decision because of “intense oil and gas industry pushback.”

COGA Pres. Tisha Schuller said, “The commissioners delayed the decision for no other reason than it was after 5 p.m. and they had several versions of proposed rules they needed to compare and individually review. COGA, and each industry representative who testified, made it clear that we supported the law that passed and COGCC’s authority to implement its mandates. The industry was proud to support the increased penalty bill.”

Schuller said industry witnesses expressed concerns over the process for issuing notices of alleged violations and the penalty schedule set forth in the COGCC’s proposed matrix. Specifically, she said companies were concerned improper application of the penalties would have an impact without reasonable discretion to the alleged violation.

“We’re looking for clarity and certainty as to how the new rules would be enforced and applied, not for certainty on what the penalty should be,” Schuller said. “Overall, we are all on the same page with the same goal, which is to promulgate rules that provide certainty, clarity, and consistency to all stakeholders, not just industry.”

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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