House Bill 1356, sponsored by Rep. Mike Foote, D-Lafayette, increases the maximum daily fine for a violation from $1,000 to $15,000.
The bill removes a cap of $10,000 for violations that do not result in a significant impact. The measure also specifies that companies will be penalized each day a violation occurs.
The bill gives the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission the authority to prohibit new drilling permits or revoke current ones if a company commits gross negligence or willful misconduct. The state oil commission also is to present penalty information to the Legislature annually and publish a quarterly report online.
“If a company is willfully breaking the law, they need to be held accountable,” Foote said in a statement.
The bill has support from industry trade group Colorado Oil & Gas Association, environmental group Conservation Colorado and the state Department of Natural Resources, which oversees the state oil commission.