Colorado’s strong energy regulations

Colorado’s strict oil and natural gas regulations are among the toughest in the country.

Just in the last decade, Colorado’s oil and natural gas industry has undergone 15 rulemakings to ensure our regulations are up-to-date with the latest technological innovations.

From start to finish, everything is carefully planned and monitored according to state and local laws. Colorado’s first-in-the-nation regulations include groundwater testing and monitoring, setbacks from buildings, installing noise barriers during drilling operations, and re-routing or reducing truck traffic away from communities. In 2014, Colorado approved the nation’s first-ever regulations of methane. The regulations also “install technology that captures 95 percent of emissions.”

And thanks to recent technological innovation and leadership across the industry, Colorado has cut emissions in the Denver Metro/North Front Range region by nearly 50% in recent years and CO2 emissions in the U.S. are down 750 million metric tons since 2005. In fact, former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has said that, Colorado “brought environmentalists and oil and gas companies to the table to create the toughest methane emission laws in the country.”

In 2019, Colorado expanded our state’s already strong regulations to further support local authority and control. This ensures that Colorado’s energy industry continues to operate in the most responsible way possible.


Who regulates fracking in Colorado?

By state law, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) regulates the development and production of all oil and natural gas resources in the state of Colorado. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment also administers a comprehensive program to monitor air quality and emissions.

More than 30 counties in Colorado have also updated local rules to meet their community’s specific needs by implementing the following options:

  • Many local governments have negotiated a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which is a legally binding agreement between companies and local governments setting out rules before development even begins. As an incentive for meeting these special requirements, companies receive their permits through a more thorough process.
  • Cities and counties can appoint a Local Government Designee (LGD) to represent their community interests before the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC), the state agency charged with regulating oil and natural gas development in Colorado.

To learn more about oil and natural gas development rules and regulations in Colorado, visit the COGCC’s complete list.