Holding the Task Force Accountable

The Colorado Oil and Gas Task Force was appointed by Governor John Hickenlooper in August of 2014. The 21-member Task Force is comprised of an equal number of representatives from the oil and gas industry, the environmental and impacted communities, and a group of neutral experts. They are responsible for making a series of policy recommendations to the State Legislature concerning the surface impacts of oil and gas development and concerning other residential impacts.

Colorado Currents - Fall 2014

Colorado Currents

Fall 2014 Edition 

Blue Ribbon Oil and Gas Task Force Gets Underway

In August, Governor Hickenlooper announced the creation of the state commissioned Blue Ribbon Oil and Gas Task Force. The Task force is charged with making policy recommendations focused on state and local regulations of oil and gas operations. The task force is comprised of an equal number of representatives from affected communities, the environmental community, civic organizations, agriculture, and the oil and gas industry. The task force will make its policy recommendations in late February 2015.

The creation of the task force was the result of a compromise between two ballot initiative campaigns proposing both pro- and anti-oil and gas amendments to the Colorado constitution. Rep. Jared Polis was backing two of these initiatives. One would have given local governments more control over oil and gas development within their borders. The second initiative would have mandated a 2,000 foot setback rule — keeping drill sites at least 2,000 feet from homes. Additionally, the oil and gas industry was offering two ballot initiatives that would have taken local control away from municipalities and blocked communities attempting to regulate oil and gas operations from receiving oil and gas tax revenues. Read more 

Colorado Currents | Winter 2013

colorado currents
2013 Winter/Legislative Session Edition

Oil and Gas Drilling and Fracking

Clean Water Action has worked with local groups around the state to raise awareness of water dangers and other risks posed by oil and gas drilling and fracking. Together with local “fractivists” and municipalities, Clean Water Action helped win new fracking regulations and local moratorium measures, including those in Fort Collins and Boulder County. The Fort Collins moratorium is in effect through July 2013. The Boulder County moratorium expires this February, but will likely be extended to give the county time to update and strengthen its recently adopted fracking regulations. Helping additional communities exercise their rights for local control of drilling and fracking operations is a priority for the coming year.

“Setback” rules determining the distance allowed between drill sites and structures such as homes and schools were also hotly debated. Current state law allows drilling and fracking as close 350 feet in densely populated areas and 150 feet in rural areas. A state “setbacks stakeholder” group is recommending new drill site setback standards.

Communities along the Front Range are concerned about current standards and are looking to scientific studies to guide setbacks rulemaking. Clean Water Action supports a 2,000-foot minimum drill site setback in Colorado. Read more

Oil from rocks?

Oil shale deposits, Colorado.  Photo by Doc SearlsDo you believe in magic? Big Oil and their supporters hope so, as they advocate their latest domestic energy source: oil shale.

Oil shale is neither oil nor shale. This finely-grained sedimentary rock - more properly known as organic marlstone - is infused with kerogen, not oil. Kerogen is a dense blend of ancient algae and pond scum, and is an essential ingredient in oil and natural gas. But transforming kerogen to oil requires millennia, coupled with intense heat and crushing geologic pressure. Otherwise the kerogen remains a relatively energy-poor waxy deposit in sedimentary rocks, such as oil shale.

Make Sure the Oil and Gas Taskforce Recommends Meaningful Policies for Colorado!

In August, Governor John Hickenlooper appointed 21 individuals to the Colorado Oil and Gas Task Force. The Task Force is charged with conducting public hearings and by March 2015 making a series of public policy recommendations to the Colorado State Legislature regarding oil and gas operations in Colorado.

Clean Water Action is taking a lead in pushing the Task Force to make meaningful recommendations that protect Colorado communities – as well as our water, air, and land – from the risks of oil and gas development. But we need your help. Contact the Task Force today.

Clean Water Action Applauds Representative Polis

On Monday, August 4th, Representative Jared Polis and Governor John Hickenlooper announced a compromise that will potentially level the playing field for Coloradans when it comes to oil and gas development. The deal includes dropping four fracking and drilling related initiatives from consideration on the November 2014 ballot. As part of that compromise, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) is withdrawing its lawsuit against the city of Longmont and creating a Blue Panel Task Force that will make policy recommendations to the State Legislature.
Published On: 
08/12/2014 - 07:17

US Senator Mark Udall Joins Celebration of Clean Water

Boulder - On Saturday, July 12, US Senator Mark Udall attended a "Celebration of Clean Water" hosted by Clean Water Fund, the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, the Colorado Renewable Energy Society and the American Sustainable Business Council.

The event, which was held at Celestial Seasonings in Boulder featured Bill Midcap of the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, Roger Alexander of the Colorado Renewable Energy Society, and Sara Lu of Clean Water Fund.

Published On: 
07/15/2014 - 15:53

Colorado Currents | Spring-Summer 2014

colorado currents
spring/summer 2014 edition

Solid Clean Water Wins

State lawmakers ended up making progress on critical water issues and turned back a number of anti-environment measures opposed by Clean Water Action and allies. Farmers and ranchers will now be able to return water they do not use, without fear of penalty, so it can go instead to restore river flows. Urban legislators won passage of a measure to prohibit water-wasting faucets, shower heads and other fixtures from being used in new homes and developments, a significant water conservation victory. Read more

Gov. Hickenlooper hammered over veto of water-efficiency measure

An environmental group has launched an aerial attack on Gov. John Hickenlooper for his veto of a water-efficiency bill by flying a "Failure to Lead" banner at public events, including a gathering of Western governors.

The director of Clean Water Fund — a group concerned with America's water, global warming and a new-energy economy — says it's coincidental that the "Failure to Lead" mantra echoes attacks leveled at the Democrat governor by the Republican candidates trying to unseat him in November.
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Conservation groups go after Hickenlooper for water bill veto

DENVER — Governor John Hickenlooper is drawing backlash for vetoing a bill that conservationists say would have prompted farmers to update their irrigation systems and kept more water in Colorado’s Western Slope streams without asking anyone to forfeit water rights. Hickenlooper said that the final version of the bill, SB 23, lacked sufficient support from agricultural and water groups. Conservationists say Hickenlooper’s veto amounts to a “failure to lead.”

“This legislation was the result of thousands of hours of coalition work over several years,” said Sara Lu of the Clean Water Fund. “The governor had expressed support for the bill, at least through his staff, and then seemingly out of nowhere he turned around and vetoed it.”
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