The Boulder Daily Camera's Charlie Brennan reports, the drilling company that set up operations directly across the street from Rep. Jared Polis' rural Weld County farm faces a (relatively) stiff fine:
State regulators have proposed $26,000 in penalties against the company that launched a drilling and extraction operation directly across the road from a Weld County property owned by U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, D-Boulder, and used as his weekend getaway.
Additionally, the order Friday from the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission states Sundance Energy must meet with the holding company through which Polis owns his Weld County property to discuss its future plans in detail.
"It's an illegal well that's located too close, and a rig that is too high, and it kind of vindicates our initial charge of complete carelessness with regard to following state regs," Polis said Wednesday. "I don't think they should be able to frack the well they drilled there illegally, but at least the $26,000 fine is a start, and I hope the company takes the offset regulations seriously in the future."
Sundance Energy declined to comment Wednesday.
Polis was hounded by conservatives after filing suit against the drillers, then dropping that suit to pursue a claim before the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. A second line of criticism from conservatives and energy industry proponents was opened by noting that Polis has, among his plethora of investments, some money invested in energy companies too.
This recommended $26,000 fine for Sundance Energy drilling too close to Polis' property certainly vindicates him on the first point. As he said all along, the well was not in compliance. This story says a lot about the plight of landowners all over Colorado now threatened by drilling near their homes, as "fracking" pushes drilling into areas that haven't seen it before. The law, which may itself not be adequate to protect the public, doesn't always get followed. Surface landowners suffer losses from drilling near their properties, from peace and privacy to health and safety. Rep. Polis had the resources and wherewithal to fight back, but not everyone confronted by drilling near their home does. And even though the drillers will pay a fine, the well is still drilled. None of this is new, but here is a very good example of what happens.
As for the second point, about Polis having energy investments? Note: he doesn't invest in Sundance Energy.
But even if he did, is there anybody out there who wants companies they invest in to be breaking the law?