Colorado Oil and Gas Association Crying Wolf Again?

Governor Hickenlooper recently announced new rules for the oil and gas industry to address Colorado’s growing pollution problem. If the rules are passed, they’ll require that the oil and gas industry capture 95 percent of all toxic pollutants and greenhouse gas methane – which is linked to climate change.

The Denver Post reports that “…the oil and gas industry has become Colorado’s largest source of toxic pollutants called volatile organic compounds, as well as the greenhouse gas methane, linked to climate change, and hazardous chemicals including cancer-causing benzene.”

Yet, this fact hasn’t stopped some industry players from complaining about the new rules and it’s already been reported that the Colorado Oil and Gas Association (COGA) and the Colorado Petroleum Association are likely to oppose the rules.

The Colorado Oil and Gas Association and Colorado Petroleum Association were not standing behind Hickenlooper on Monday; both groups are likely to fight the proposal as it goes forward, knowing that it could set a precedent for other states to tackle methane emissions if it is adopted as currently written. –  KDVR FOX 31, 11/18/13

This isn’t the first time that the oil and gas industry has complained or opposed new rules to protect Coloradan’s water, public health and communities. The oil and gas industry railed against the rules passed in 2008, which brought more balance to oil and gas development – going so far as to sue the state. The industry claimed that the 2008 rules would drive them out of business and damage Colorado’s economy, but the exact opposite happened.

The Colorado Oil and Gas Association’s (COGA) John Swartout called the 2008 rules “…a sad day for Colorado’s economic well-being.”  Yet, since 2010, oil and gas production in Colorado has spiked. In fact, Colorado oil production broke a 50 year record in 2012 and is on pace to top that record in 2013.

Industry executives also argued that new rules would make it harder to operate in Colorado and would divert investments to other, more favorable areas. Just this past summer, Anadarko Petroleum Corp. and Noble Energy Inc. announced their plans to expand drilling in Colorado to thousands of new locations.

In 2008, COGA claimed the rules were “threatening to the industry”. Conversely, researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder Leeds School of Business found that the oil and gas industry has grown substantially in Colorado over the past five years.

It’s past time for the naysayers in the oil and gas industry to stop crying wolf and to move forward towards finding balance.  Reasonable safeguards for our air and water are essential for protecting our quality of life and building our economy. We think everyone can be on board with that.

Join the effort to strengthen the American West.