(April 15) – The House gave final approval this morning to Rep. Mike Foote’s bill to increase fines for oil and gas operators who violate state rules. The vote was 35-27.
Under current law adopted in the 1950s, the maximum daily fine for violators of Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission regulations is $1,000 and the total fine is capped at $10,000. Noncompliance is often the less expensive option.
By increasing the maximum daily fine to $15,000 and repealing the cap on the maximum total fine, HB13-1267 will bring Colorado’s schedule of fines up to date.
Responsible operators should have no problem with the bill. But by making sure the state can impose meaningful fines, HB13-1267 will allow the COGCC to better enforce its regulations, incentivize safe practices and quick remedial action and make intentional violators think twice.
“This bill will help us hold irresponsible oil and gas operators accountable,” said Rep. Foote (D-Lafayette). “It will protect Colorado jobs. It will also protect public health and safety and the state’s clean air and water.”