Letter: Stop the misleading rhetoric about the Colorado oil industry

Allec Brust

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by the Collegian or its editorial board. 

Dear Collegian,

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A recent opinion piece by Cullen Lobe is a false narrative attempting to depict an unregulated oil and gas
industry set on poisoning our children. This irresponsible and inaccurate storytelling skips past countlessfacts and is a clear departure from reality.

Since 2010, Colorado’s oil and gas industry has been through nearly a dozen significant regulatory rulemakings. In fact, discussions are currently taking place around an air rulemaking by the Air Quality Control Commission and a flowline rulemaking by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission set to occur this fall.

The recent list of Colorado oil and gas regulations, of which the state was the first in the nation for many
of them, includes hydraulic fracturing fluid disclosure requirements, increases in the distance from
occupied structures, water testing before and after drilling, a tightening of spill threshold requirements,
methane emission reduction requirements, emission leak detection and repair requirements, Volatile
Organic Compound (VOC) emission reduction requirements, a 15-fold increase in fines and penalty
amounts, local government collaboration and planning requirements, urban mitigation requirements,
and on and on.

Plainly speaking, Colorado’s oil and gas industry makes a good argument for having the
toughest regulations in the country – in a country with the toughest regulations in the world. We do it
cleaner and better than anywhere.

Colorado’s tough oil and gas regulations, combined with cutting edge innovations, have produced
tangible results. For example, between 2011 and 2017, Colorado’s VOC emissions dropped nearly 50
percent, at the same time oil production quadrupled. Once the seasonal data is complete, this
significant air quality achievement may help push Colorado’s ozone nonattainment area into compliance
under the EPA’s 75 parts per billion standard for the first time.

All of this is taking place, while keeping our state’s energy costs among the lowest and most affordable
in the nation, benefiting families and businesses of all types. Colorado’s industry is neither unregulated,
nor is it setting out to poison our children. It’s time for the unproductive and unhelpful rhetoric to stop.

Scott Prestidge

Director of Communications & Public Affairs, Colorado Oil & Gas Association

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