With SB 181, Colorado begins the hard work of regulating the health impacts of oil and gas extraction for local communities Earthjustice attorney Joel Minor works to protect communities from the harmful impacts of energy development A version of this piece originally ran in the Colorado Sun . When the Legislature created the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission in 1951, the state’s population was 1.3 million , and hydraulic fracturing was just an entertaining side project for a few swashbuckling geological engineers with a keen interest in explosives. Today, the state’s population has swelled to 5.8 million, oil and gas production has grown rapidly, and the fracking boom has brought noisy, smelly, disruptive large-scale extraction operations into once-peaceful residential communities. Now the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission’s 1951 mission to “foster, encourage, and promote” oil and gas development seems woefully naïve. That choice has had lasting, harmful consequences for the state. In January, the Colorado Supreme Court confronted the question of what steps the agency can take to protect public health from hydraulic fracturing. I represented Physicians for Social Responsibility and the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments – medical professionals who explained to the court that […]

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