Board of County Commissioners votes for stricter drilling regulations

By Liam Adams
Posted 9/3/19

Adams County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted for stricter oil and gas drilling regulations in unincorporated Adams County Sept. 3.

The decision came after a six-month moratorium that …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Username
Password
Log in

Don't have an ID?


Print subscribers

If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.

Non-subscribers

Click here to see your options for becoming a subscriber.

If you made a voluntary contribution in 2021-2022, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one at no additional charge. VIP Digital Access includes access to all websites and online content.


Our print publications are advertiser supported. For those wishing to access our content online, we have implemented a small charge so we may continue to provide our valued readers and community with unique, high quality local content. Thank you for supporting your local newspaper.

Board of County Commissioners votes for stricter drilling regulations

Posted

Adams County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted for stricter oil and gas drilling regulations in unincorporated Adams County Sept. 3.

The decision came after a six-month moratorium that halted developers from applying for new drilling permits. The new regulations include a minimum setback distance of 1,000 feet, stricter zoning for drilling sites and air quality control standards.

“In Adams County, we take pride in being able to find common sense solutions,” said Commissioner Steve O’Dorisio.

The board’s decision, and the public debate that preceded the vote, is a result of the Colorado General Assembly’s passing of Senate Bill 181, which gives local jurisdictions greater authority over oil and gas development.

Before Adams County commissioners voted, residents and representatives of oil and gas companies spoke fiercely against or in support of the regulations. The meeting ended five hours after it began.

Pro-industry speakers condemned the regulations over concern that companies will leave Adams County, which they say will have other negative effects in the county.   

“District 27J alone has received over $759,000 directly from oil and gas leases,” said Dewayne Stelljes, director of operations at Wayne’s Electric. If the regulations are passed, he said, “the funding of education in Adams County will suffer.”

Others contested drilling setback distances of 1,000 feet at minimum from schools, daycares, residences, and other areas, which industry members consider as too far. Current statewide minimum is 500 feet.

More broadly, other industry supporters said the amendments are taking too many liberties with SB-181, saying the state doesn’t advise as strict standards.

“The regulations in front of you [board] still pose serious concerns and push the statutory limits of what is reasonable and necessary,” said Dan Haley, president and CEO of Colorado Gas and Oil Association.

Those speaking against oil and gas drilling said regulations are necessary to help air quality.

“Our air is being classified by the EPA as seriously noncompliant for the excessive ozone in the nine-county Denver area,” said one speaker.

Others said the regulations are necessary to combat climate change.

“So I want to ask you [the board], is it reasonable and necessary for the people of Adams County, the people of Colorado to have a livable climate because the implications of this position go way beyond the 450,000 people that you represent?” asked a representative of Colorado Rising, an environmental activist group.

Some speakers asked that regulations be made more stringent and that the moratorium is extended, which Boulder County has done.

Before casting his vote, O’Dorisio said, “There are people in this room who want us to remove the moratorium and do nothing or keep the moratorium and do nothing. I just don’t think the status quo in either way is the way to go.”

Comments

Our Papers

Ad blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an ad blocking plugin in your browser.

The revenue we receive from our advertisers helps make this site possible. We request you whitelist our site.