Colorado's Oil And Gas Regulators Must Now Consider Public Health And Safety
After years of tension over expanded oil and gas drilling, including a deadly explosion that galvanized critics, Colorado is moving to tighten regulations on the booming industry. In a sweeping overhaul the governor is expected to sign, regulators will now have to consider public health, safety and the environment in decisions about permitting and local land use.
The state must still hammer out the details of how to implement the new law over the next year. But the impending changes are already fueling hope for some, and fear for others. ...
Greeley is the epicenter of Colorado's oil and gas development. Weld County is where 90 percent of Colorado's oil is pumped, and the region hosts oil companies, secondary companies that truck water and supplies to well pads, and companies like Smith's that depend on business from the oil fields. Many who live in Greeley oppose the changes. ...
The new law would give cities and counties more control over where oil wells go. It would also shift the state's mandate from fostering oil and gas development to regulating it, with a focus on the environment and people's safety. The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission will get new members with environmental and public health expertise.
The legislation also launches rule-makings in half a dozen areas, including flow lines, and limiting potent methane leaks from oil and gas infrastructure.
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Report finds 'alarming unaddressed deficiencies' in US offshore oil drilling
(CNN) Even as the Trump administration has taken steps to expand offshore oil drilling, a new report shows that thousands of oil spills are still happening and that workers in the oil and gas industry are still dying on the job.
The report comes from Oceana, a nonpartisan nonprofit dedicated to protecting and restoring the oceans, which has sued the federal government to stop seismic airgun blasting in the Atlantic Ocean. The blasting is the first step needed to allow offshore drilling, when seismic airguns are used to find oil and gas deep under the ocean.
Every state along the Atlantic coast has opposed the blasting, worried that spills could hurt tourism and local fisheries. Some scientists say the testing could also hurt marine life, including the highly endangered North Atlantic right whale.
The group tied its report, released Thursday, to the ninth anniversary of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill to show what has been happening since the government promised to hold the industry accountable to higher safety standards. ...
Using public records and interviews with people in the field, Oceana found that although there hasn't been another big blowout like the Deepwater accident, oil spills continue, and so do fatalities, though they're not often front-page news.
There were at least 6,500 oil spills in US waters between 2007 and 2017, according to the report, which said that's probably an undercount. Despite a decrease in fatality rates overall as an industry, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the fatality rate of oil and gas industry workers, onshore and off-, was an average of seven times higher than that of other US workers in general between 2003 and 2013.