Young: Closed meetings at well sites foster distrust

Colorado Newsline: For decades, the state commission that keeps watch over Colorado oil and gas operators was at least as much an industry partner as it was a regulator. The law demanded it — a statute directed the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to “foster” industry operations until the General Assembly in 2019 bolstered the commission’s regulatory function.

It was a long overdue change, particularly since the industry’s role in causing climate change has become indisputable and the risk that fracking poses to nearby communities has been convincingly established.

But some of the commission’s recent behavior suggests it can’t shake its cozy relationship with polluters. The five members of the commission recently traveled to the Western Slope and visited well sites on industry property. The visits themselves — which occurred in Gunnison, Garfield and Jackson counties — weren’t necessarily a problem. But the commission prohibited the public from attending.

That’s not just a problem. It’s illegal.

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