Colorado Supreme Court Sides with Oil & Gas Industry

Denver—It’s a legal victory for Colorado’s oil and gas industry and a bitter defeat for environmentalists.  In a unanimous decision this morning, the Colorado Supreme Court overturned a state court of appeals decision that said the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission should be compelled to consider public and environmental health before issuing a new drilling permit.  Supreme Court Justice Richard Gabriel wrote the decision saying the C.O.G.C.C. was justified for declining to consider the public health rule proposed six years ago by a group of Boulder teenagers.  The teens and some conservation groups pushed for the rule that would have barred the commission from approving a drilling permit unless, “the best available science demonstrates and an independent, third-party organization confirms that drilling can occur in a manner that does not impact human health or contribute to climate change.”  The C.O.G.C.C. argued that approving such a rule would have been beyond it’s authority.  With a 7 to nothing vote, the state’s high court concurred.  Governor Jared Polis is disappointed by the court’s ruling.  Last week in his first State of the State address, Polis vowed to give communities more authority when it comes to decisions on the location of drilling sites and promised to pursue 100 percent renewable energy for Colorado by 2040.   Colorado Petroleum Council Executive Director Tracee Bentley praises the court’s decision.  “The court was right to deny a single out-of-state interest group, one that advocates for ending all energy development across the country, the ability to rewrite our state’s laws.”