Headlines – November 12, 2021

Headlines November 12, 2021


[Download Audio]

Environmental Groups Criticize Oil and Gas Over New Regulation

The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission heard testimony this week on pending regulations over the state’s 50,000 active oil and gas wells. Oil and gas companies currently provide bonds to the state to cover potential clean up and mitigation costs in the event an operator abandons a well.  

According to ColoradoNewsline, activists have long criticized Colorado’s existing bond requirements as inadequate, claiming the rules let operators off the hook from the industry’s growing financial risk.  

Critics are now saying the latest draft rules are even worse than the agency’s existing regulations. Oil and gas operators opposed the proposal the state created in June. 

Environmental groups say the proposed regulatory definition of an “inactive well” will allow operators to manipulate the system by producing tiny amounts of fluid from a well in order to maintain an active status and to avoid higher bonding requirements.  

ColoradoNewsline reports environmentalists are also pressing the commission to do away with blanket financial assurance bonds, which allow operators to insure large portfolios for only a fraction of the potential cost to plug and clean up a well site.  

Industry officials are claiming full cost bonding will create severe financial and underwriting burdens for operators or force operators out of business.

Denver Driver Shortage Means Less Regular Trash Pickup

The Denver Department of Transportation and Infrastructure announced this week, the city will implement a new trash, recycling, and compost collection schedule next year because of a driver shortage.  

The Denver Gazette reports the agency has kept up with most collections despite a worker shortage, but the amount of overtime and weekend work has increased. 

Under the change, drivers will operate on a four-day collection schedule beginning January 3rd as compared to the current five-day schedule. 

70% of Denver residents will have a new day of the week for their household collection. Next month’s WasteWise newsletter will provide information on new household collection dates.  

Boulder County Commissioners Discuss How To Spend ARPA Funds 

Just over 1,500 people responded to a recent Boulder county survey seeking public input on how the county should spend $63.3 million in federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act. 

Officials revealed initial findings from the survey during a public meeting of the county commissioners on Wednesday.  

According to The Longmont Leader, outreach specialists brought the survey to communities throughout Boulder County, particularly the Latinx and mountain communities, where initial outreach met distrust.

Many held concerns about whether their opinion mattered or had any effect. 

27% of respondents reported negative economic effects from COVID, including pandemic-related job loss causing delinquency on rent, mortgage, property taxes, and leaving families unable to meet other needs. 

Wednesday’s meeting also highlighted challenges of small businesses and nonprofits in providing competitive salaries and maintaining a workforce in face of larger companies. County officials will make a full report of the survey findings available to the public on November 18th at the county’s ARPA webpage.  

Boulder County has until 2024 to spend the federal fund. 

 State Officials Introduce Bill To Opt Out Of Targeted Content 

Colorado Congressional Representative Ken Buck introduced a bipartisan bill this week aiming to allow users to opt out from having personal data-driven algorithms select the content they see.  

To support the bill, Buck said in a statement that consumers should be able to engage with internet platforms without being manipulated by secret algorithms driven by user-specific data. 

Colorado Newsline reports, the bill, called the Filter Bubble Transparency Act, is similar to Senate legislation introduced in June and would apply to platforms that collect data from at least 1 million users and that have earnings of more than $50 million per year.  

The Federal Trade Commission would be the agency tasked with enforcing the legislation. According to Colorado Newsline, Buck has been an outspoken critic of monopolistic technology companies and helped form in July an anti-Big Tech caucus.