The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting us all. Not only is it upending our lives and taxing our time and attention, it’s directly putting our health and safety at risk.
In spite of this, Colorado oil and gas regulators are pressing ahead to approve hundreds of fracking permits. Even worse, at the same time they’re also halting development of new rules to protect public health, safety, and the environment.
Colorado’s oil and gas industry is doing everything it can to avoid accountability to health in this time of crisis. They’re even suing to sidestep safeguards imposed by local communities. Sadly, the state’s regulators seem to be doing everything they can to bolster this unconscionable response.
While we’re weighing in on individual drilling permits and pleading with the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to “Pause Permits During This Time of Crisis,” we’re also urging people to sign the petition calling on Governor Jared Polis to suspend all oil and gas extraction in the state.
In the meantime, we’re circulating the open letter below to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, please share widely! Join us in keeping the pressure on to put people before polluters.
Dear Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission:
WildEarth Guardians writes to object to the ongoing approval of drilling and location permits. In light of the current emergency declarations and stay at home orders issued by the Governor and numerous local governments, it is not appropriate for the Commission to approve new drilling permits that further threaten public health, safety, and the environment, or that require the public to engage in administrative processes.
Given the disruptive impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Coloradans are not able to meaningfully participate in the Commission’s permit review and approval process.
For many Coloradans who may be impacted by new drilling permits, their ability to weigh in is severely limited given the need to prioritize focusing on health, family and community stability, and work. An increasing number of Coloradans may actually be too sick to weigh in.
Additionally, the public is not currently able to request or obtain hearings to review any approved permits. With the Commission suspending new rulemaking proceedings, it is not acceptable to still require the affected public to engage in the permitting process.
Please deny proposed permits or suspend their approval until Colorado has weathered the COVID-19 pandemic and Coloradans can meaningfully engage in Commission activities that may affect their health, safety, and environment.