A Longmont-area farmsteader irked about odor, noise and leaks from gas wells by his house — whose complaints drove state regulators to negotiate a $15,000 fine against Encana — marched back to the regulators Thursday demanding tougher punishment.
Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commissioners agreed to let Rod Brueske make his case at a formal hearing in the coming weeks.
It was an unusual episode reflecting rising expectations for stricter enforcement as drilling expands near communities along Colorado’s Front Range.
State staffers at a monthly commission meeting told Brueske the fine they negotiated is nearly the maximum that Colorado law allows.
“The state statue is outdated. The fines you are giving Encana are a slap in the face to the citizens of Colorado,” said Brueske, 52.
For a company, he said, such a fine “is a minor inconvenience.”
Colorado’s law limits COGCC fines to no more than $1,000 a day for violations. It also lets residents object and request hearings challenging penalties.
Brueske complained in April about gas vapors and leaks from wells located about 1,150 feet from his house on 2.7 acres in eastern Boulder County, state records show.