Speak up for fisheries

This fall, anglers, hunters and those who love Colorado’s wildlife have a chance to protect wildlife habitats from the negative impacts of oil and gas drilling. The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) is accepting input from the public regarding its 1200 series of rules, which determines regulations regarding wildlife, and I, as a lifelong angler, intend to speak up.

This updated rulemaking is required after Senate Bill 181 passed in 2019. This legislation changed the COGCC’s mission by directing it to safeguard wildlife and its habitat and allowing it to deny any permit application if its approval would not protect wildlife nor the environment.

This is our chance to protect the fisheries we love. Currently, the buffer zone for drilling around streams and rivers is 300 feet, which does not seem adequate, given the risk of spills and runoff from those eventually reaches waters that hold our precious fish. Riparian zones are critical to keeping waters cool and healthy, and they are also frequented by an incredible diversity of birds and mammals. With that in mind, I advocate for increasing that drilling distance to one-quarter mile to help mitigate any adverse impacts.

For the sake of all Coloradans and the multitudes of visitors to our fine state, let’s do our due diligence and speak up for fish and wildlife while we have a chance. You can do so by emailing DNR_COGCC.Rulemaking@state.co.us with the subject line reading 800/900/1200 Series.

John Egan

Highlands Ranch