DENVER | A Denver district judge has dismissed a lawsuit by Weld County challenging new state regulations designed to cut oil and gas industry emissions.
District Judge Michael Martinez granted a motion by the state to dismiss the case, agreeing with state attorneys that the rules, adopted under a 2019 law that emphasizes public safety and the environment over fossil fuels energy production, don’t pose a threat to Weld County’s economy, The Denver Post reported Friday.
Martinez found that when it comes to air quality regulations, the state Air Quality Control Commission has precedence over the county.
Weld County is home to nearly half of Colorado’s 52,000 active oil and gas wells, and county Commissioner Barbara Kirkmeyer has said the local industry paid nearly $500 million in property taxes in 2019.
The air commission’s rules went into effect in February to help implement the 2019 law. The rules include increased inspections of well sites and equipment.
“We will continue to aggressively pursue new rules and regulations that reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants,” said Andrew Bare, spokesman for Colorado’s Air Pollution Control Division.
Weld County’s attorney and commissioners are reviewing the decision, county spokeswoman Jennifer Finch said.
Ten other counties in western and rural Colorado have a similar lawsuit pending against the state challenging air quality rules.