COGCC flood response lessons learned forum recap

Flooded well site September 2013 -- Denver Post
Flooded well site September 2013 — Denver Post

From the Fort Collins Coloradoan (Ryan Maye Handy):

Colorado oil and gas regulators set a precedent on Thursday by hosting a public forum on lessons learned from oil spills caused by the September 2013 floods, said Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission Director Matt Lepore.

But in recapping its response to the spills — which poured about 43,000 gallons of oil into the South Platte River basin — few new updates came out of the meeting, held in the Wells Fargo building in downtown Denver. Representatives from COGCC, a state agency that regulates oil and gas, and industry advocacy group the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, spoke about response to the spills that alarmed Front Range residents for weeks last fall. The groups intend to present a series of recommendations to the state government as a result of their review, Lepore said.

But the main purpose of the meeting — time for public discussion — was largely a bust. Lepore had set aside an hour for discussion with an audience of more than 70 people, but after four or five comments and questions, the audience was silent.

“I am pleased with the turnout,” Lepore said after the meeting adjourned almost an hour early. “Honestly, I hoped for much more dialogue.”[…]

When it comes to flood aftermath, Laura Belanger, an environmental engineer with Western Resource Advocates, is still hopeful that COGCC’s list of best management practices — now only suggestions — become hard-and-fast rules. While larger oil and gas operators might go above and beyond what the list recommends, smaller operations may not, she said.

More oil and gas coverage here and here.

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