New Bills in the Colorado Legislature

The following climate-related bills have been introduced in the Colorado Legislature for the Spring 2024 term:

  • HB24-1330: Air Quality Permitting
    Concerning modifications of processes to obtain permits for activities that impact air quality. This bill closes a loophole where oil & gas operators can currently apply for an air quality permit for each emitting source instead of considering the cumulative impact of all the infrastructure at a single pad.
  • SB24-159: Mod to Energy & Carbon Management Processes
    Concerning modifications to processes to further protect public health in energy and carbon management. This bill would phase out permitting for new oil & gas wells by 2030, and is scheduled to be heard in the Agriculture & Natural Resources committee on March 14th, 2024. See this fact sheet for more information.
  • SB24-165: Air Quality Improvements
    Concerning measures to reduce emissions of air pollutants that negatively impact air quality. This bill would limit nitrogen oxide emissions (a major contributor to our regional ozone problems), up to and including a prohibition on oil & gas preproduction activities during ozone season.
  • SB24-166: Air Quality Enforcement
    Concerning measures to increase the enforcement of violations that impact the environment. This bill increases the fines and penalties for repeat air quality violators.

A Record Number of Spills in Weld County

For the month of January 2024 in Weld County, the ECMC recorded the largest number of oil & gas spills ever; 102 spills altogether. This represents 77.3% of the 132 spills reported for the month across the entire state.

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SB24-159 Media Coverage

We’ll update this post with additional media coverage as we find it. If you come across something we’ve missed, let us know.

PublishedSourceLink
Mar 13, 24Colorado NewslineHow a pair of scissors helps explain the deepest divide in Colorado climate policy
Mar 1, 24Colorado NewslineColorado climate activists rally at Capitol to support oil and gas phaseout bill
Feb 16, 24The Center SquareBill would stop new oil, gas permits in Colorado by 2030
Feb 14, 2024CPR NewsColorado is set to consider a ‘fossil fuel phase-out.’ Here’s why that’s a big deal
Feb 14, 2024The Fence PostColorado oil and gas ban bill introduced by Jaquez Lewis, Priola
Feb 12, 2024The Denver GazetteColorado Democrats push to end new oil drilling by 2030
Feb 10, 2024Denver Business JournalColorado legislators push to end oil well drilling by 2030 (Paywalled)
Feb 10, 2024The Sum & SubstanceComing bills would ban new oil-and-gas wells, stop summertime drilling

Permitted vs Spud Wells by County

Now that the “SB24-159 Modifications to Energy & Carbon Management Processes” bill has been introduced in the legislature and is getting some media attention, industry advocates once again say that activists are trying to ban fossil fuel extraction today, right now, no exceptions. In reality, the legislation is meant to slow down and eventually stop the permitting process. Even this will take quite a bit of time.

The Colorado Energy & Carbon Management Commission (ECMC) makes available a daily data download for the visualizations available on the Daily Activity Dashboard. One of the sheets available in the Excel workbook is Spud Data, showing two interesting statistics for each county in Colorado:

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Spill Analysis by Year

In addition to persistently-poor air quality, the immense amount of oil & gas infrastructure present throughout Colorado poses another risk in the form of spills—of oil, methane, and produced water. While the amount of “spilled” methane gas is more difficult to quantify, the Colorado Energy & Carbon Management Commission (ECMC) has done a better job of capturing the quantities of oil and produced water spilled at oil & gas facilities in Colorado. This data is available to download from the ECMC web site, but is poorly presented as a data table PDF that cannot be machine read into Microsoft Excel or other tools for easy analysis.

Can you spot the “analysis?” The amount of oil and water spilled has been expressed as a percent of the total volume of oil and water produced, respectively. At best, it seems that the volume of oil spilled has declined relative to production, but the number of spills have quadrupled over the reporting period! What’s happening?

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Draco Map

We’ve created a detailed map showing the proposed Draco wellbores and their potential interaction with existing oil & gas infrastructure, not least of all because they’re not yet available on the ECMC GIS Online map. For more information about this drilling proposal, visit our Draco FAQ.

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Coyote Trails FAQ

An aerial image of the Coyote Trails drilling pad, from a Channel 7 News article.
An aerial image of the Coyote Trails drilling pad, from a 2018 Denver Channel 7 News article.

tl;dr
Extraction Oil & Gas intends to drill an additional 18 wells at the Coyote Trails pad in unincorporated Weld County, just outside of Erie, Colorado. We are working diligently with other organizations, the Town of Erie, and the City and County of Broomfield to prevent this Application for Permit to Drill (APD) from being approved. Most recently, their APD was denied by the ECMC Commissioners in a 4 to 1 vote during a January 24th, 2024 commission hearing. The operator will most likely resubmit their application with additional information, the timing of which is unknown.

We’ll be updating this FAQ as we get additional information from the various involved parties. Where possible, links to additional/source material have been provided.

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ECMC Complaints Analysis

As complicated and difficult as it can be to submit a complaint to the ECMC (fka COGCC) about an air quality, noise, or odor issue at an oil and gas facility in Colorado, the number of complaints lodged with any location is a good measure of the negative impact that oil & gas exploration has in our neighborhoods. With data obtained from the ECMC, here’s a data table showing the sites that logged more than 20 complaints of any kind since 2010.

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