Energy policy — oil and gas: The COGCC has requested a voluntary assessment of Colorado’s rules from the State Review of Oil & Natural Gas Environmental Regulations

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From the Associated Press (Catharine Tsai) via The Denver Post:

The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission earlier this month sent STRONGER written responses to questions about its rules. On Thursday, commission staff took questions in person from STRONGER reviewers Lori Wrotenbery of the Oil and Gas Conservation Division of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, environmental scientist Wilma Subra and Jim Collins of the Independent Petroleum Association of America and STRONGER observers.

They asked about the breadth of Colorado’s data on water wells and aquifers, philosophies on casing wells, how regulators handle odor complaints, and other issues.

STRONGER’s final report is expected later this year. It will be up to the commission to decide what to do with the findings, but the public could weigh in if the commission decides to change its rules.

Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency has selected a site in the Raton Basin for a study of the effects of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water. Here’s a report from David O. Williams writing for the Colorado Independent. From the article:

The site in the Raton Basin of southern Colorado will be used in a retrospective case study, which will examine hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” impacts on drinking water in an area where drilling has already occurred. Four other sites – in North Dakota, Texas, and two in Pennsylvania — will be part of the retrospective study.

Two areas – in Pennsylvania and Louisiana – will be used as prospective case studies, in which the EPA will monitor the hydraulic fracturing process throughout the life of a well. There’s great anticipation building over the ongoing EPA study, which seeks to definitively answer key questions about whether or how fracking can contaminate groundwater.

More on the EPA study from the Associated Press via UpstreamOnline.com. From the article:

The Agency will study the future effects of the hydraulic fracturing process in the Haynesville Shale in Louisiana’s DeSoto Parish and Pennsylvania’s portion of the Marcellus Shale in Washington County.

Washington county will also be subject to a retrospective case study which will look at areas where hydraulic fracturing has already occurred for any effect on drinking water resources.

It will be studied alongside Pennsylvania counties Bradford and Susquehanna in the Marcellus Shale, along with North Dakota’s Kildeer and Dunn counties in the Bakken Shale, Texas’ Wise and Denton counties in the Barnett Shale and Colorado’s Las Animas County in the Raton basin.

More oil and gas coverage here and here.

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