The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission yesterday approved rule and policy changes that significantly increase penalties for operators violating Commission regulations. The rule changes are designed to further deter violations and encourage prompt compliance. They include increasing maximum daily penalty amounts from $1,000 to $15,000 for each violation as well as eliminating a $10,000 overall penalty cap for each violation. They also clarify the Commission’s ability to assess a penalty for each day that evidence demonstrates a violation occurred. The toughened penalty rules are the latest in numerous changes to state regulations related to oil and gas development. Since 2011, the Hickenlooper Administration has crafted rules to increase setbacks, reduce nuisance impacts, protect groundwater, cut emissions, disclose hydraulic fracturing chemicals and increase spill reporting.