350 Colorado Statement on HB 1269

March 28, 2013


Thank you for this opportunity to present comments on behalf of 350 Colorado.  We appreciate the committee considering ways to address the serious issues around the dual mandate of the COGCC, which we believe negatively impacts the Commission’s ability to properly protect public health and welfare.


As an organization that is focused on solving the climate crisis, which is already having serious consequences for Colorado in the form of drought, pine beetle epidemics due to warmer winters, wildfires and crop failures, which raise food prices, 350 Colorado is extremely concerned about documented methane releases at well heads and the overconsumption and permanent destruction of water for hydraulic fracturing.


A recent study conducted by NOAA and the University of Colorado, reported in the January 2013 issue of Nature Magazine[1], showed alarmingly high methane (i.e. natural gas) emissions from oil and gas fields in Colorado and Utah – with up to 9% of methane being leaked into our atmosphere.  Methane is ~30 times more potent of a heat-trapping gas than carbon dioxide and is contributing significantly to climate change.  According to the Environmental Defense Fund and Princeton University, emissions of methane from natural gas production must be below 3.2% in order to be an improvement over coal-fired plants.   Rules must be put in place to eliminate methane leakage, and having a COGCC that is not comprised of industry employees who are focused on maximizing quarterly profits we believe will help considerably to fully weigh such long-term issues and protect the public welfare.


In addition, one of the consequences of a warming climate on our region is drought, which scientist expect to worsen in the years to come as evaporation and transpiration increase.  In an increasingly water-constrained region, our leaders must give stronger consideration to the wise use of water for the most essential purposes, like food growing and household use.  The most common practice of using 5-10 million gallons of water per hydraulic fracturing well-head – water which is made so toxic with cancer-causing and endocrine-disrupting chemicals that it must be injected deep into the earth and permanently taken out of the water cycle – is a terrible waste of a precious and finite essential resource.  Again, we believe that eliminating the dual agenda of the COGCC will help eliminate conflicts of interest that could preclude members of the Commission from making wise decisions regarding water resources.


Lastly, leaving some oil and gas resources in the ground for future generations is not “waste”, it is prudence and wisdom.


Thank you.