Anti-Fracking Advocates Sue The COGCC To Halt New Drilling Permits In Colorado

October 9, 2019
Extraction Oil and Gas' Brian Cain poses for a portrait on a drilling and fracking site, Sept. 13, 2019.Extraction Oil and Gas' Brian Cain poses for a portrait on a drilling and fracking site, Sept. 13, 2019.Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Extraction Oil and Gas' Brian Cain poses for a portrait on a drilling and fracking site, Sept. 13, 2019.

Anti-fracking advocates filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the state oil and gas regulatory board to stop them from issuing new drilling permits.

The complaint by Colorado Rising in Denver District Court said the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission should halt new drilling until new permitting rules are settled.  

A new law, Senate Bill 181, passed last legislative session, changes the state's priorities from industry growth to health and safety.

The law was billed by both supporters and opponents as a sea change in how the industry is policed, giving local governments and state agencies greater authority to decide where and how drilling can occur.

SB-181 was signed in April.

Former state lawmaker Joe Salazar spoke at a press conference at the state capitol Wednesday.

He said he is disappointed in Gov. Jared Polis' administration for not cracking down on fracking.

"I imagine this is going to be a situation where the rubber meets the road for this administration on their environmental stance," he said.

The suit stems from a July COGCC decision on an Extraction Oil and Gas drilling permit in Broomfield.

Colorado Rising filed the complaint on behalf of the Wildgrass Oil and Gas Committee which has safety objections to Extraction's residential fracking plan. Wildgrass owns the mineral rights to the land.

Wildgrass requested a stay on the permit hearing to investigate health and safety and the financial health of Extraction. The COGCC hearing officer denied the request.

Ben Markus contributed to this report.

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