The Colorado Supreme Court recently issued its long-awaited ruling on the authority of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) to prioritize environmental protection over oil and gas development. In COGCC v. Martinez, the court rejected the assertion that environmental protection must take precedence. Instead, it concluded that, in crafting the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Act,
the legislature’s intent was not to create a condition precedent to further oil and gas development. Rather, its intent was to minimize adverse impacts to public health and the environment while at the same time ensuring that oil and gas development, production, and utilization could proceed in an economical manner.
Case No. 17SC297, 2019 CO 3, ¶ 44 (Jan. 14, 2019); see Oil and Gas Conservation Act, Colo. Rev. Stat. § 34-60-101 et al.