How many of you have received emails like this from our Governor's office, in response to your comments concerning Longmont's ban on fracking, or any other comment concerning the oil and gas industry?
Thank you for writing regarding fracking regulations in Longmont. This is an important subject and we are grateful you took the time to express your concerns.
Oil and gas drilling, including hydraulic fracturing, is regulated by personnel at the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. In April 2012, Colorado’s new chemical disclosure rules went into effect, requiring oil and gas operators to publicly disclose all chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing of their wells. These are some of the fairest and most transparent fracking regulations in the country and will likely serve as a model for other states.
Local involvement is critical in oil and gas development. Close collaboration between local government and state regulators often results in conditions that must be agreed upon before any well can be drilled. At the same time, we have to be mindful that a patchwork of rules that create inconsistency and uncertainty undermines the responsible development of our important oil and gas resources – resources we all consume – the jobs they afford, and critical revenues to local and state governments across Colorado.
Under current law, as interpreted by the Colorado Supreme Court, the State of Colorado and municipalities share regulatory authority over oil and gas operations. However, when state and local rules conflict, or if a municipality regulates technical aspects of drilling, local regulations typically must yield to the State. Where the line is drawn between the State’s and a municipality’s regulatory authority is not always clear. After lengthy discussions with city officials, the State concluded some of Longmont’s oil and gas regulations intrude on matters within the State’s regulatory purview. The lawsuit will bring greater clarity and certainty to the respective roles of state and local governments in regulating oil and gas operations. Local governments have many opportunities under the COGCC’s existing rules to work with COGCC and oil and gas companies during the permitting process and beyond to craft creative solutions to particular concerns related to oil and gas operations within their jurisdictions. In the meantime, the State will continue to seek an acceptable compromise with Longmont that will result in dismissal of the suit. (How many of you are laughing at this comment?)
A strong process for local-state collaboration strikes an important balance. Colorado’s longstanding approach ensures we can protect the environment and the public while enforcing robust statewide rules ensuring the safe, orderly extraction of a resource all citizens consume. (We consume this resource because it's cheap for the industry to extract and produce, and because our elected officials refuse to enable non-renewable alternatives ample opportunity to thrive).
In addition, Colorado continues to promote a diverse energy supply that includes both traditional and renewable energy that will protect our environment, keep consumer’s costs low, create jobs, and provide safe and reliable energy.
We appreciate your input and will keep your thoughts in mind as we move forward.
Office of Governor John W. Hickenlooper
I'd like to respond to this letter, but this came from a "do-not-reply" email form letter.