By Mark Jaffe, The Denver Post 08/15/2012 – 7:13 PM EDT
Gov. John Hickenlooper Wednesday outlined a set of new initiatives to oversee oil and gas operations in Colorado to create “integrity and trust” in energy development.
The areas that the state is looking to include in existing rules or to add are:
• Enhanced testing to assure well-bore integrity.
• Comprehensive water sampling before a well is drilled.
• Controlling fugitive methane emissions from wells.
• Developing setbacks for wells in densely populated areas.
Hickenlooper outlined the issues at the Colorado Oil and Gas Association’s annual conference in Denver.
“This is a good substantive list of issues,” said Mike Chiropolos, an attorney with Western Resource Advocates, a Boulder-based environmental policy group.
Hickenlooper has used the conference in the past to set out his agenda for oil and gas policy, Chiropolos said, noting that last year he raised the need for a disclosure rule for hydraulic fracturing fluids that was later adopted.
Public concern over hydraulic fracturing — in which million of gallons of water, sand and trace chemicals are pumped into a well to crack rock and release oil and gas — and drilling air pollution have to be addressed, Hickenlooper said.