(1)Intentionally left blank —Ed.
(a)An operator shall conduct oil and gas operations in a manner that accommodates the surface owner by minimizing intrusion upon and damage to the surface of the land.
(b)As used in this section, “minimizing intrusion upon and damage to the surface” means selecting alternative locations for wells, roads, pipelines, or production facilities, or employing alternative means of operation, that prevent, reduce, or mitigate the impacts of the oil and gas operations on the surface, where such alternatives are technologically sound, economically practicable, and reasonably available to the operator.
(c)The standard of conduct set forth in this section shall not be construed to prevent an operator from entering upon and using that amount of the surface as is reasonable and necessary to explore for, develop, and produce oil and gas.
(d)The standard of conduct set forth in this section shall not be construed to abrogate or impair a contractual provision binding on the parties that expressly provides for the use of the surface for the conduct of oil and gas operations or that releases the operator from liability for the use of the surface.
(2)An operator’s failure to meet the requirements set forth in this section shall give rise to a cause of action by the surface owner. Upon a determination by the trier of fact that such failure has occurred, a surface owner may seek compensatory damages or such equitable relief as is consistent with subsection (1) of this section.
(3)Intentionally left blank —Ed.
(a)In any litigation or arbitration based upon this section, the surface owner shall present evidence that the operator’s use of the surface materially interfered with the surface owner’s use of the surface of the land. After such showing, the operator shall bear the burden of proof of showing that it met the standard set out in subsection (1) of this section. If an operator makes that showing, the surface owner may present rebuttal evidence.
(b)An operator may assert, as an affirmative defense, that it has conducted oil and gas operations in accordance with a regulatory requirement, contractual obligation, or land use plan provision, that is specifically applicable to the alleged intrusion or damage.
(4)Nothing in this section shall:
(a)Preclude or impair any person from obtaining any and all other remedies allowed by law;
(b)Prevent an operator and a surface owner from addressing the use of the surface for oil and gas operations in a lease, surface use agreement, or other written contract; or
(c)Establish, alter, impair, or negate the authority of local and county governments to regulate land use related to oil and gas operations.
Section 34-60-127 — Reasonable accommodation,
https://leg.colorado.gov/sites/default/files/images/olls/crs2023-title-34.pdf (accessed Oct. 20, 2023).