Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission is failing us |

Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission is failing us

The reprioritized Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission has been a huge disappointment. Senate Bill 181 is 16 months old and there’s still no meat on the bones. Permitting continues under the old, inadequate rules. Setbacks haven’t been increased. There’s no fracking ban.

Now we hear the commission has submitted to industry pressure and won’t hear from state toxicologist Kristy Richardson about the health risks of drilling and fracking until after the rule-making. We understand Richardson and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment have reached some conclusions the industry certainly wouldn’t want aired, but should be.

Climate activist Greta Thunberg’s admonition has become a prophesy. “I want you to panic,” she said, “I want you to act as if your house is on fire because it is.” If you’ve gone outside recently and noticed your congested lungs and burning eyes, you know Colorado is on fire.

As a reporter for the Glenwood Springs Post Independent who covered the tragic Storm King Mountain Fire in 1994, I know wildfires are nothing new, but they’ve never been so explosive. The Grizzly Creek Fire went from zero to 3,000 acres in less than 24 hours. Why? Because of low moisture content in the fuels caused by climate change-related drought.

Let’s look beyond Colorado. California has to be running outta fuels after the last few fire seasons. The Gulf of Mexico is experiencing an unprecedented two hurricanes at the same time. A derecho in the Midwest has wiped out millions of acres of corn and soy beans.

Do I sound like an alarmist? That’s not unintentional. The time to act is now.

Fred Malo Jr.