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December 07, 2023 12:05 PM UTC

Lauren Boebert Carries Big Oil's Frack Water

  • by: Colorado Pols
Rep. Lauren Boebert (R).

One of the principal criticisms of Colorado’s Tasmanian devil of controversy Rep. Lauren Boebert is that she spends too much of her time on wedge-issue grandstands and political sideshows like the half-baked impeachment of Joe Biden, and not enough time on issues actually pertinent to the people and economy of the vast expanse of Colorado she represents in Congress. A good example of this was a hearing in March presenting Boebert’s legislation to remove gray wolves from the Endangered Species List that Boebert herself hijacked to show pictures of aborted human fetuses to the committee.

This week, however, a piece of legislation by Rep. Boebert is moving through the U.S. House that no one can dispute directly addresses an important issue in her district. But as Mike Ludwig at Truthout reports, the effect of this legislation on Boebert’s district could be disastrous:

A House committee is considering legislation introduced by Colorado Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert that could leave taxpayers on the hook for up to $17.7 billion in costs associated with cleaning up oil and gas wells abandoned on public lands by fracking companies and other polluters, according to a new report from the watchdog group Public Citizen.

Oil and gas industry lobbyists and their allies on Capitol Hill are working to defeat a Biden administration proposal that would strengthen federal requirements designed to force fossil fuel companies to plug wells and clean up drilling sites on federal lands after extraction. Boebert’s bill would direct the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to withdraw its proposal, and the House Natural Resources Committee considered the bill for markup on Wednesday.

Here’s more from Public Citizen’s report released Tuesday on the effects of Boebert’s bill to leave taxpayers on the hook for the cleanup of abandoned oil and gas wells, which would disproportionately impact–you guessed it–Colorado’s oil and gas patches:

For decades, the U.S. oil and gas industry has taken advantage of toothless federal rules that govern drilling on public lands. The federal government has charged woefully inadequate royalties to compensate taxpayers for oil and gas extraction and failed to require that drilling companies provide adequate financial guarantees to ensure that wells get cleaned up if drillers go bust…

Based on these figures, the analysis arrived at a high-end cleanup estimate of $17.7 billion, a medium range of $6.2 billion, and a low-end of $2.9 billion. Nearly 90% of the potential high-end cleanup bill is in just five states: New Mexico, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado and California, [Pols emphasis] with almost 65% of the potential tab in New Mexico and Wyoming alone.

Many observers unfamiliar with the issue are shocked to discover how easily oil and gas companies can shirk their obligations to clean up after themselves after drilling on public lands. The new rule proposed by the Biden administration substantially increases the bond amount that drillers must post to ensure funds are available for plugging abandoned wells even in the event of the driller going bankrupt–a much more common practice than one might think given the industry’s shell game of “small” providers who supply the big upstream corporations you’ve heard of.

Boebert’s close ties to the oil and gas industry have clearly survived Boebert’s divorce from her roughneck husband, whose outsize and belatedly-reported income from the drilling company he worked for raised questions whether Boebert was being directly compensated to do the industry’s bidding in Congress. This bill, which has the potential to place taxpayers on the hook for billions to clean up after defunct drilling companies–or not, leaving the damage to be addressed by future generations–is not good stewardship of public lands in rural Colorado, it’s a license for drillers to pillage public lands for private profit with the risk borne by the rest of us. We should all be able to agree that realistically factoring the cost of cleanup into the cost of production is just good business.

If you don’t, you are working against the best interests of your district. And that’s worse than doing nothing.


15 thoughts on “Lauren Boebert Carries Big Oil’s Frack Water

    1. The Garfield county government and its’ leadership are so tight with the OilyBoyz you couldn’t drive a dime between them with an 8 pound sledgehammer and a jar of Vaseline.
      They will find a way to keep the money coming.

  1. A House committee is considering legislation introduced by Colorado Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert that could leave taxpayers on the hook for up to $17.7 billion in costs associated with cleaning up oil and gas wells abandoned on public lands by fracking companies and other polluters…


    Fracking companies don't abandon wells. Operators and owners abandon wells.

    1. True. The well owner is the culprit. It is they who are subject to bonding requirements ( which are a complete joke, by the way) and ultimately responsible. “Fracking” companies are ordinarily sub-contractors.
      Somehow the term “fracking” was incorrectly highjacked to refer to the entire process.

  2. Aw, they’re just trying to get their money’s worth out of Bobo while she’s still around. Either Frisch or  Hurd will still be sympathetic to Big Oil interests, though. Just less obviously corrupt about it. 

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