The act requires the Colorado oil and gas conservation commission (commission) and the water quality control division (division) in the department of public health and environment, in consultation with local governments, to perform a study that:
- Identifies best management practices for capturing methane seepage in the Raton basin;
- Evaluates the quality of water resulting from such methane capture operations; and
- Evaluates the potential to preserve and make beneficial use of such water.
The primary objectives of the study are to:
- Proactively and systematically locate and survey methane gas seepage in the Raton basin;
- Document previous areas of seepage;
- Calculate any differences in seepage amounts; and
- Assess the potential for methane to create hazardous conditions.
The study must include:
- A survey to identify suspected seepage areas, previous seepage areas, and increases or decreases in seepage;
- Detailed mapping of suspected seepage areas;
- Sampling and analysis of gas collected from selected seepage areas; and
- Sampling and analysis of water from selected water wells and methane capture wells in the Raton basin.
In performing the study, the commission and the division shall coordinate with:
- The Colorado energy office;
- The division of water resources in the department of natural resources;
- The division of mining, reclamation, and safety in the department of natural resources;
- The division of parks and wildlife created in the department of natural resources; and
- The boards of county commissioners in Las Animas and Huerfano counties.
The commission must complete the study and submit it to legislative committees of reference by June 30, 2025.
For the 2023-2024 state fiscal year, the act appropriates $558,500 from the oil and gas conservation and environmental response fund to the department of natural resources, for use by the commission, and $85,361 from the general fund to the department of public health and environment.
APPROVED by Governor June 2, 2023
EFFECTIVE August 7, 2023
NOTE: This act was passed without a safety clause and takes effect 90 days after sine die.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)