A lot’s changed since 1955 when a gallon of gas was about 29 cents. One thing that hasn’t changed are Colorado’s fines for oil and gas drilling violations – despite a huge drilling boom and large increase in spills over the past several years. Under current law, most violations can’t be fined more than a $1,000 per day, with an overall cap of $10,000.
And it turns out that the state rarely enforces these laws. Analyses by the Denver Post and Fort Collins Coloradoan found that that state regulators rarely fine violators who pollute, and less than 7 percent of industry violations since 1996 have resulted in fines.
The Parachute Creek spill, caused by Williams, has polluted soil and water with cancer causing benzene and yet 56 days later, Williams has yet to be fined for polluting and risking public health.
Despite all of this, not only has Governor Hickenlooper failed to stand up for Colorado families and protect public health, but he’s actually working overtime to help make it easier for the oil and gas industry to pollute your water and communities.
According to a new report from the Center for Western Priorities, six oil and gas companies were responsible for 85 percent of all the spills that resulted in water contamination last year. Turns out that Governor Hickenlooper’s ‘besties’ Anadarko Petroleum subsidiary and Noble Energy, Inc. (of the Anadarko-Noble loophole) were two of the six big polluters.
Earlier this week, Fox 31 Denver reported that Gov. Hickenlooper watered down legislation to protect public health and water by strengthening oil and gas drilling violation fines.
Apparently, these laws just aren’t lax enough for Governor Hickenlooper and his oil and gas industry boosters. According to the Fox 31’s news coverage:
Andy White, the governor’s [Hickenlooper] lobbyist on all oil and gas-related legislation…sided Friday with Republicans on the Appropriations Committee and stripped those provisions — the minimum daily fine and the removal of an overall cap on fees — from the bill before sending it to the Senate floor.
Now the question is: Will the state legislature do the right thing – protect public health and water- by holding the oil and gas companies responsible when they pollute or will Gov. Hickenpuppet continue doing the bidding of the oil and gas industry to the detriment to Colorado families and communities?