“…To avoid paying the plugging cost, a common practice in the oil and gas industry is for larger firms to either drag out plugging the well for as long as they can — this Colorado well had not produced a profitable amount of oil in twenty years before finally stopping production in 2020 — or keep selling the dying well to smaller and smaller companies which have a greater chance of going bankrupt, pushing the cost to taxpayers.”


“[Oil and gas operators] save boatloads of money every time they hang an ‘out of service’ sign on a well instead of plugging it,” says Kate Merlin, an attorney for the Climate and Energy Program at WildEarth Guardians, an environmental advocacy organization based in Wheat Ridge. “They’ll say anything to get out of paying. They’ll say, ‘There’s no problem.’ They’ll promise to be good, they’ll say we’re killing them. But this entire state is littered with thousands of rusting and leaking wells, in suburban backyards, in wildlife habitat, under farms, even overlooking the Colorado River.”


“A playground and a bike path are nestled between a row of homes in the Thornton neighborhood of North Creek Farms. Roughly 200 feet away is an oil and gas drilling site that is leaking hydrocarbons like methane.”



“Over the past three years Colorado has strengthened its regulations on oil and gas companies operating in the state, prompting claims from oil and gas industry executives that these environmental policies are strangling their ability to drill. In addition to ignoring the impact oil and gas production has on global warming, this argument also ignores the tax breaks that are available to oil and gas companies.”



“The oil and gas provisions included in the IRA are intended to make sure oil and gas companies pay their fair share for their activities and to cut down on harmful emissions that the oil and gas industry produces. However, environmental groups in Colorado have criticized some of the IRA’s provisions that were added in order to assure passage through the U.S. Senate.”





Nalick also explained that lobbying and other methods are ways companies can negotiate with politicians. Last year, the pharmaceutical manufacturing lobby spent twice as much as the next-biggest industry lobbying against lower drug prices.
“What you see overall is you see companies publically do one thing and privately do something else,” Nalick said. “So campaign money is not the main source of influence from companies anymore, so if you compare it to lobbying, if you compare it to donations to trade associations, and you compare it to dark money it’s a very small percentage. So when you track the campaign donations, it’s kind of money they want you to see. Rather than the money that’s out there that they’re spending in other means that are harder to track such as lobbying and dark money. What you’ll see is in the public: they’ll give money one way and lobby in a different direction.”