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Colorado Approves Stronger Oil And Gas Spill Reporting

John Giez
Flickr - Creative Commons
A drilling rig seen in Western Colo. on the Piceance Basin, Aug. 2010.

Colorado is beefing up requirements for reporting oil and gas spills. The new rule would require energy companies to report spills that are over 1 barrel or 42 gallons.

The previous reporting threshold [.pdf] was 5 barrels and companies had 10 days to report. Now the industry must report these smaller spills that leave the well pad within 24 hours.

The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission unanimously approved the change, which stemmed from legislation passed earlier in 2013.

“It’s a very common sense, very simple, very practical bill,” said legislative sponsor Representative Diane Mitsch Bush (D-Steamboat Springs). “It will indeed prevent water pollution from oil spills, so I’m very pleased.”

The new rule also requires companies to notify local emergency officials, something that didn’t always happen before.

“That’s critical because it’s so important for making sure a spill is cleaned up quickly,” said Bush.

Some members of the oil and gas industry support the changes while others remain neutral.

Bente Birkeland has been reporting on state legislative issues for KUNC and Rocky Mountain Community Radio since 2006. Originally, from Minnesota, Bente likes to hike and ski in her spare time. She keeps track of state politics throughout the year but is especially busy during the annual legislative session from January through early May.
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