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A draft of proposed regulations for oil and gas drilling in urban areas disappointed homeowners in the Wadley Farms neighborhood in Adams County, who had hoped for more support against large-scale operations in residential and unincorporated county areas.
“We had hoped for protection for the residents of Colorado,” said Jennifer Gamble, a Wadley Farms resident and board member of Adams County Communities for Drilling Accountability NOW (ACCDAN).
The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) on Oct. 6 released the first draft of proposed rules implementing the Governor’s Oil and Gas Task Force, which manages oil and gas operations throughout the state and outlines regulations for local governments and industry operators.
Todd Hartman, communications director for the Department of Natural Resources, which oversees COGCC, pointed out several opportunities for revisions of the rules, including stakeholder meetings that allow for public discussion. Those meeting were scheduled for Oct. 14, 15 and 16 in Denver. The Oct. 16 meeting is set for 9 a.m. to noon at the COGCC building at 1120 Lincoln St.
“In short, the process is still playing out and the COGCC looks forward to hearing specific comments and suggestions on the set of draft rules published last week,” Hartman wrote in an e-mail.
ACCDAN supporters will be attending, Gamble said. “Our folks will be at the stakeholder meetings in strong force to make our voices heard.”
A letter from COGCC director Matthew Lepore stated the draft rules are a recommendation and the COGCC staff expects them to continue to evolve during the stakeholder process.
The draft rules call for:
Measuring the depth of new and existing wells to define a Large Urban Mitigation Area (UMA) Facility, which is an oil and gas site in an urban setting. It also, in turn, would determine capacity of oil and gas produced on this site. Industry operators must notify and offer to consult with the local government where they propose a Large UMA Facility. The local government can choose to waive consultation, and such communication would not be required if a written agreement already exists between the local government and the operator about the type of proposed facility. The operator will have to specify on a later application what happened with this process. Although strong interest has been expressed, local governments with a proposed site near – but not in — their jurisdiction boundaries do not have the right to comment on the plan. Management practices of Large UMA sites were broken down to better allow for a case-by-case basis. It includes regulations on the development of site plan, practices and procedures as well as a limit of site-specific duration of drilling to try and minimize disruption. This could mean fewer wells on a site as well as a possible “quiet period” break between phases. All operators are required to register and provide information of plans reaching as far as five years out with the local governments where they have sites, or plan to.
During outreach meetings before the draft rules release, many questions were raised regarding the exclusion of counties, such as Adams County, from these requirements. Not all of those questions have been answered by the draft rules. However, the rules do invite further discussion what happens when proposed drill sites are outside local government boundaries, on unincorporated county lands.
To review the draft rules, visit
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