Colorado Independent energy and environment reporter David O. Williams appeared on the Rocky Mountain PBS (KRMA Channel 6) show “Colorado State of Mind” last week, speaking on the future of oil and gas in Colorado. He appeared with panelists David Neslin, executive director of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission; Jim Spehar, former Grand Junction mayor and current columnist for the Grand Junction Free Press and High Country News; and Michael Brown, former FEMA director and current KOA-AM (Denver) radio host.
Williams points out that the state’s controversial new environmentally friendly drilling regulations– the vilified Ritter regs– actually haven’t had a chance to work yet, especially during a boom cycle, where they will have the most effect. It’s therefore hard to know how to assess them. The panelists all agreed.
Brown, a Colorado oil man it turns out, said that oil and gas companies find a way to work with regulations. Spehar agreed. The oil and gas is here in Colorado, he said, and companies still want to extract it and make a profit and so industry activity will continue.
In fact, Neslin said, oil and gas activity is as high so far this year as any previous year. He said companies haven’t fled to other states, a scenario campaigning politicians have been warning against for months. He said the opposite is true: Colorado under the new regs has seen the most activity of any state in the union.