CU-Boulder workshop invites public to discuss oil and gas development and groundwater protection on Nov. 26


Following the recent Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission hearing on creation of statewide regulations for groundwater sampling and monitoring near new oil and gas wells, the University of Colorado Boulder will host an informational workshop on Monday, Nov. 26, from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Wolf Law Building.

The workshop, titled “Monitoring and Protecting Groundwater during Oil and Gas Development,” will focus on oil and gas development procedures that can impact groundwater, the current state regulations that protect groundwater, the changes proposed by the commission, and other recommendations. The commission will hold a second hearing and plans to finalize new regulations on Dec. 10, 2012.

The workshop is free and open to the public and is co-sponsored by the CU-Boulder Natural Resources Law Center’s Intermountain Oil and Gas Best Management Practices Project and the Colorado Water and Energy Research Center.

The Oil and Gas Conservation Commission of the state of Colorado has required water well sampling and monitoring for many years through numerous state orders, rules and conditions of approval. The proposed water-sampling rule would establish sampling and monitoring requirements on a statewide basis and would eventually supersede other commission water sampling rules and orders, with the exception of rules concerning sampling in coal-bed methane areas.

The sampling rule is intended to provide the commission with a mechanism to obtain data consistently across the state. These data are intended to help verify that water wells, ground and surface waters, and residents of producing basins are adequately protected and that impacts, should they occur, are quickly identified and mitigated.

“Energy, jobs and a clean environment, including clean and sufficient groundwater, are extremely important to Colorado today and for our future,” said Kathryn Mutz, Natural Resources Law Center senior research associate and Intermountain Oil and Gas Best Management Practices Project manager. “Ensuring groundwater protection during oil and gas development is one important part of the puzzle. This workshop is providing a venue outside of the formal commission rulemaking process to discuss and educate ourselves and the stakeholders about the alternatives so that we get this rule right for Colorado.”

For more information about the Nov. 26 workshop and the proposed amendments, visit To RSVP, email your name and contact information to Continuing Legal Education credits are available to attendees for a fee.

The Intermountain Oil and Gas Best Management Practices Project website and database are maintained as part of the Natural Resources Law Center within the CU-Boulder Law School. Best Management Practices are mitigation measures applied to areas being developed for oil and gas to promote energy development in an environmentally sensitive manner. The project is supported, in part, by the Environmentally Friendly Drilling Project and a CU-Boulder Outreach Award.

The Colorado Water and Energy Research Center, led by Mark Williams, CU-Boulder professor of geography, provides a neutral clearinghouse for information on the potential hydrologic impacts of natural gas development.

Kathryn Mutz, 303-492-1293
Colorado Water and Energy Research Center
Hannah Fletcher, Continuing Education communication specialist, 303-492-3949