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K.P.Kaufman, Oil, gas company is facing $1.2M fine

Kauffman allegedly failed to report spills

By Judith Kohler

The Denver Post

In a preliminary decision, state regulators have determined that K.P. Kauffman Co. violated several oil and gas rules, a finding that brings with it roughly $1.2 million in recommended penalties.

The penalty amount could grow as the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission resumes deliberations Wednesday in eight separate notices of alleged violations issued by the COGCC staff. The allegations include failing to report spills and not letting the state know in a timely manner how the company planned to resolve the complaints.

After considering the allegations, the COGCC will decide whether the Denver company has engaged in a pattern of violations, a decision that could cost K.P. Kauffman its license to operate in Colorado.

The COGCC issued what it called an interim decision Monday on five groups of allegations. A final decision will cover all eight sets of complaints, which range from not reporting spills to missing deadlines on cleanup plans to improperly disposing of oil and gas waste.

The staff has recommended fining K.P. Kauffman $3.7 million based on the calculated fees for each violation. The commissioners reduced some of the penalties and dismissed a handful of the complaints, including one because it was beyond the statute of limitations. They consolidated some complaints into a single violation.

But the commissioners rejected arguments by K.P. Kauffman’s lawyers that missing deadlines for filing plans to clear up violations amounted to an issue of paperwork and didn’t constitute a real threat. COGCC Chairman Jeff Robbins said the state’s enforcement system is based on using the forms to keep the state informed and is crucial to ensuring that steps are being taken to protect public health and safety, the environment and wildlife.

“If we had an enforcement team of 5,000 people that might be different because we’d have more eyes on the ground,” Robbins said.

Instead, the COGCC has a couple dozen enforcement officers, Robbins added, and communication between a company and the staff is “absolutely critical.”

Most of K.P. Kauffman’s roughly 1,200 wells are in Weld County. Kevin P. Kauffman is the founder, chairman and CEO of the business that started in 1984.

Judith Kohler: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or @JudithKohler




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