With support from the National Energy Technology Laboratory, the Ground Water Protection Council collaborated with Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to enhance the oil and natural gas permitting process, now being used or considered for use in multiple states.
The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission has received a 2011 Council of State Government Innovations Award in Natural Resources for the "eForm" system which streamlines permitting of oil and natural gas operations and allows for online completion of regulatory forms.
"With multiple agencies spread across multiple locations and utilizing multiple forms, we recognized several years ago that we need to look for something that would make our systems more convenient," said David Neslin, Executive Director of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. "The eForm system was developed to make the process easier for the end user but to handle the complex needs of agency personnel."
Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission staff worked with the Ground Water Protection Council with funding provided by the U.S Department of Energy to develop the system, which drew high praise when rolled out to the industry in July 2009. Within six months of its introduction, more than 80 percent of the forms submitted were being done using the eForms online system.
"The system was a double-win for our constituents," Neslin added. "Not only was it easier for the industry to submit forms but because the system made data management and analysis easier for our staff, this has helped us to significantly reduce our processing times."
The eForm system compiles regulatory data and allows the COGCC staff, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and Colorado Parks and Wildlife employees to all have access to it. Review by the separate agencies can occur at the same time instead of submittals being reviewed by COGCC and then transmitted to the other agencies for review.
Public transparency is also enhanced through the eForm system. Through the system, interested members of the public are able to query, view and comment on oil and gas applications that are under active review. The online system allows broad public review of processes and enhances the ability of the public to comment on projects at times and places that are convenient for them.
Development of eForm system was funded by the COGCC with support from the United States Department of Energy through the Groundwater Protection Council. The eForm system was developed with open, code-sharing allowing for other states, including Nebraska and Alabama, to implement portions of the system in their regulatory approval processes. It is also being considered for use in Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Montana.