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Even as state oil and gas regulators mull over new rules for the disclosure of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, the Colorado Supreme Court is pondering whether citizen activist groups can intervene on matters like the ultimate frack job in 1969 using a 43-kiloton nuclear bomb.
Counties across Colorado are gearing up for the next major oil and gas boom, scrambling to draft local regulations for everything from visual impacts to physical setbacks of drilling equipment. But state officials are increasingly flexing their regulatory muscles, and industry representatives fear more local regs will slow the next boom before it’s in full swing.
For decades, Royal Dutch Shell – Europe’s largest energy company – has been known in Colorado as the king of oil shale research, spending an estimated $200 million on an experimental and controversial extraction process that has yet to be proven commercially viable. But Shell and its American subsidiaries have increasingly been moving into natural gas drilling in the United States, including a well permit pulled in southern Colorado that has touched off a firestorm of debate over state versus local control of drilling operations and just how much public input should be allowed.