Colorado TU and national TU worked in harmony to pass groundbreaking changes to Colorado’s oil and gas drilling regulations.
Starting in 2014, Trout Unlimited initiated conversations with the oil and gas industry and conservation partners to establish more robust protections for Colorado’s most important fisheries. The idea was simple: prohibit stream-side oil and gas development and require spill protection measures for development within a quarter of a mile of native trout streams and Gold Medal fisheries. This effort smoldered until 2019 when a law passed the Colorado Legislature requiring a rewrite of its rules.
Colorado Senate Bill 19-181 required the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) to expand the agency’s mission to safeguard wildlife and its habitat against potential adverse impacts of oil and gas development. This provided a once-in-a-decade opportunity to ensure strong protections for wildlife and its habitat, which include cold-water fisheries, streams and riparian zones across the state.
Massive stakeholder input started in November 2019 and concluded last month. The rulemaking hearings spanned 180 hours of presentations, witness testimonies and deliberations. Colorado TU joined as a formal party to the hearings as part of a coalition with aligned sporting conservation groups, which included Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, the National Wildlife Federation and Colorado Wildlife Federation. CTU members provided expert witness testimony, wrote letters to publications and sent in over 500 written comments to the COGCC in support of additional protections for cold-water fisheries.