On Jan. 14, 2019, the Colorado Supreme Court held in Martinez v. Colo. Oil & Gas Conservation Comm’n, that the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (Commission) properly denied a petition requesting that it adopt a rule that would halt the drilling of oil and gas wells for the foreseeable future.

The Supreme Court’s decision reinforces the Commission’s authority to regulate public health and environmental concerns, but not to the detriment of its charge to foster responsible, balanced development of the resource. A likely outcome of the decision will be proposed legislation seeking to alter the balance of current law, and further requests to the Commission for rulemaking to give local governments and other stakeholders more opportunities to address the issues raised in this case.

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