Justice Rising Program

Justice Rising is working to reverse decades of legal precedent that currently favors the oil and gas industry, to give communities more power. Our sister org, Colorado Rising For Communities has brought cases in federal and state courts, and has challenged oil and gas permits in front of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (“COGCC”). Our legal work has resulted in several permit withdrawals which means our work is effective. Through successful litigation outcomes, we can replicate efforts and put power back in the hands of communities. Colorado Rising has been involved in the rulemaking processes that govern Colorado’s Oil and Gas operations since its inception, to ensure that impacted communities have a voice in the policies that affect their health and the environment in which they live. We are still heavily involved in this nonpartisan policy creation, and your support will equip us to continue to educate community members to advocate for the strongest possible version of oil and gas regulations and policy work.

Through COGCC Rulemaking, we fought for, and won:

2000ft setbacks achieved

In December, 2020, the COGCC unanimously voted to increase the setback for oil & gas operations away from homes, schools and protected areas from 500 feet to 2000 feet! The new setback will also be measured from the edge of the well pad, instead of the wellhead, adding a few hundred additional feet to the setback distance. This new setback has the potential to be over 4x larger than the previous 500-ft setback

Prohibit venting and flaring

Cumulative impact analysis

Environmental Justice

Burden of proof

State Agency Rulemaking

The Program is also instrumental in crafting policy through local and state agency rulemaking processes. Throughout the 2020 rulemaking process, the COGCC adopted several recommendations brought by the Colorado Rising legal team: banning venting and flaring; requirement of a cumulative impact analysis for each permit application; protection for disadvantaged communities; and placing the burden of proof on oil and gas operators to prove no adverse effects to health, safety, welfare, environment and wildlife resources before permit approval.   

Coming off of rulemaking successes in 2020, Colorado Rising anticipates that 2021 will be just as busy with COGCC rulemaking related to financial assurances and bonding. Environmental groups and oil and gas operators alike are gearing up for a massive battle. Throughout the remainder of the rulemaking process, Colorado Rising will play a leading role in arguing for the strictest financial assurances and bonding requirements possible, particularly involving abandoned wells. The outcome of financial assurance regulations and bonding requirements has the potential to make new oil and gas operations a highly unsavory financial investment in Colorado.