Governor Hickenlooper Should Fight For Balance In Oil And Gas Rulemaking
Governor Hickenlooper would be wise to challenge the Colorado Court of Appeals decision forcing the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) to reinterpret its mission.
State lawmakers have charged the COGCC with fostering “responsible, balanced” development, production and use of oil and gas “in a manner consistent with protection of public health, safety, and welfare, including protection of the environment and wildlife resources.”
Should this Court of Appeals decision remain, gone will be any balance in the COGCC’s work. Elevating the protection of the environment and public safety above all economic and property rights considerations – with no practical understanding of exactly what this might entail – sets a perilous precedent and ignores Colorado’s leadership in fostering a model for responsible development of oil and natural gas in the United States.
Under this flawed interpretation of the law – which reverses a ruling in the lower courts – every industry in Colorado should now be concerned that economic and property rights considerations have been dangerously superseded. This is a grave threat to Colorado’s economy, the rights of property owners, critically important state revenue and the future of the nation’s energy renaissance.
This legal challenge to COGCC’s mission was brought forward by an activist group that has filed petitions in all 50 states. This case is not about how Colorado is managing its natural resources but rather the agenda of activists who don’t want to see oil and natural gas produced anywhere.
Colorado is a strong environmental steward that has produced effective, balanced regulations for responsible energy development and production. The Governor would be well-supported in fighting this misguided and legally unsound ruling.
Mike Kopp is the president and CEO of Colorado Concern, a policy and lobbying organization representing business interests in Colorado.