Why Rural Coloradans Are So Upset About Oil-and-Gas Rules

May 2009

Production for companies like MarkWest Energy Partners might be up, but profits have fallen (via press release). Indeed, the effects of the oil-and-gas industry's un-boom are harsh in rural Colorado. Just ask Elaine and Stephen Urie, whose flatbed semi-trucks were once brimming with equipment for natural-gas drillers in Piceance Creek. "We basically have no work," Elaine tells High Country News, adding that since September her company has laid off 10 of their 14 employees. Only last summer, natural-gas companies predicted that they would be busy in the region, drilling new wells in northwest Colorado for years to come. Then the recession hit. New regulations on oil-and-gas operations have provoked anger from the industry, according to the Denver Business Journal. The Colorado Oil & Gas Association, which calls Colorado's rules "the most costly and burdensome" in America, is suing state regulators in hopes of reversing legislation signed into law by Governor Bill Ritter late last month.