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Last updated 5:42PM ET
December 16, 2017
KSUT Regional
KSUT Regional
Hundreds Pack Oil & Gas Rules Meeting
(2008-01-15)
(ksut) - HOST LEAD: Several hundred people packed the LaPlata County Fairgrounds Monday.
They were there to hear about proposed new rules to regulate oil and gas production in the state.
KSUT's Victor Locke reports.


NESLIN: THEY WILL BE A MODEL FOR THOUGHTFUL, EFFICIENT, EFFECTIVE REGULATION, REGULATION THAT ALLOWS OUR OIL AND GAS RESOURCES TO BE DEVELOPED IN A ROBUST AND PROFITABLE MANNER WHILE ALSO BETTER PROTECTING OUR WILDLIFE, OUR ENVIRONMENT AND OUR QUALITY OF LIFE.
VICTOR: The "they" acting Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission director David Neslin was referring to are new rules the COGCC is in the process of drafting.
Rules that would regulate oil and gas producers more than in the past.
Rules required by two house bills passed last year, along with legislation changing the make up of the COGCC.
Neslin called the rules now being reviewed, a pre-draft proposal of new rules for a new energy economy.
NESLIN: ONE THAT SUPPORTS A VIBRANT OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY IN COLORADO WHILE BETTER PROTECTING THE WILDLIFE, LANDSCAPES AND QUALITY OF LIFE THAT MAKE THIS SUCH A SPECIAL PLACE.
With the importance the energy industry plays in LaPlata, Archuleta, Montezuma, San Miguel and other Southwest Colorado Counties, it was no surprise 350-400 people packed the fairgrounds room for the fifth of six such meetings around the state.
And a majority of the 30-or so people speaking, called for tougher regulation of the oil and gas industry.
Josh Joswick handles oil and gas issues for the San Juan Citizens Alliance.
JOSWICK: SOME PEOPLE HAVE GOTTEN RICH FROM THIS ACTIVITY AND OTHER PEOPLE HAVE GOTTEN HURT. IT'S NOW THE JOB OF THE OGCC AS PER LEGISLATIVE DIRECTION, TO WRITE SOME MODEST LEVEL OF REGULATION TO ADDRESS THIS INEQUITY.
Several speakers called for disclosure of chemicals used by producers in extracting oil and gas.
One of them was Rebecca Koeppen, also of the San Juan Citizens Alliance.
KOEPPEN: WHAT IS THIS, THE SEQUEL TO A KAREN SILKWOOD FILM? COME ON YOU MUST BE KIDDING THAT YOU ARE EXPECTING INDIVIDUALS TO LIVE HERE, RAISE THEIR CHILDREN AND NOT EVEN KNOW WHAT TOXIC CHEMICALS THEY'RE BREATHING, AND EATING AND DRINKING, THANK YOU.
Others asked for greater protection for those living near or hosting well sites.
Still others lobbied for rules that will better protect wildlife, water resources and viewshed.
Others, like LaPlata County resident Dave Peterson asked for a careful review.
PETERSON: ONE OF MY HOBBIES IS CARPENTRY AND THERE'S OLD CARPENTERS WISDOM, MEASURE TWICE, CUT ONCE. WE GET IN TOO BIG A HURRY, WE SLOP THROUGH THESE EARLY CRITICAL PLANNING PROCESSES AND IT'S HELL TO PAY AND MONEY LOST, MATERIALS LOST, MAKE UP IS TOUGH.
Among elected officials speaking were San Miguel County Commissioner Art Goodtimes, who praised the COGCC process.
GOODTIMES: THAT YOU WOULD COME OUT THERE, THAT YOU WOULD GO AROUND THE STATE BEFORE YOU ACTUALLY DEVELOP A FULL PROPOSAL SPEAKS VOLUMES TO ME ON THE INTENT OF THIS ADMINISTRATION TO REALLY DEAL IN A BALANCED WAY WITH BOTH OUR DEVELOPMENT AND OUR ENVIRONMENT. THANK YOU!
But LaPlata County Commissioner Wally White who urged the state to not usurp or pre-empt local efforts to regulate oil and gas development that appear to be working such as in LaPlata County.
WHITE: IF WE CAN DO THAT WITHOUT GETTING IN EACH OTHERS WAY I THINK WE WOULD ALL BENEFIT FROM THAT. AND WE APPRECIATE YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF OUR POSITION.
The first, and one of a few reactions from industry, came from Christi Zeller, executive director of the industry supported LaPlata County Energy Council.
ZELLER: WHAT I HAVE HEARD HERE TODAY IS LESS THAN ACCURATE. IT'S ANECDOTES AND IT'S EMOTION.
Zeller criticized what she called a complete re-write of industry regulation.
ZELLER: WHAT YOU HAVE CREATED IS AN EXPECTATION DOCUMENT WHERE WE ARE GOING TO DISAPPOINT THOSE THAT WANT MORE AND MORE FROM OUR INDUSTRY.
And she said the new rules would duplicate successful local efforts at working with industry.
She then asked those supporting industry to rise.
About two thirds of the audience remaining after almost 3 hours of comments, broke into applause after quietly rising.
Many were wearing yellow name stickers declaring, Please Don't Rule Us Out.
The COGCC plans to hold a public hearing on the proposed new rules in June.
State law requires they be adopted by July 1st.
From KSUT, Four Corners Public Radio, I'm Victor Locke.
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