COGCC releases proposed rules draft

October 8, 2015

COGCC, Colorado, oil and gas drilling

A drilling rig is seen Thursday in the Eagle Valley subdivision in Weld County. Go to timescall.com for more photos. (Matthew Jonas / Staff Photographer)

A drilling rig in the Eagle Valley subdivision in Weld County. [Photo credit: Matthew Jonas]

On Wednesday, the COGCC released a draft of proposed new rules which are intended to address local government control over residential drilling. The rules are the result of recommendations that came out of Governor Hickenlooper’s Oil & Gas Task Force that held a series of public meetings across the state from September 2014 to February 2015.

COGCC Director Matt Lepore explained the proposed rules in a 6-page letter to Interested Parties and Stakeholders

2015 Governor’s Task Force Rulemaking

The COGCC will hold three stakeholder meetings next week in Denver. Telephone participation will be allowed. See Stakeholder Meetings Schedule for call-in instructions.

The COGCC will act on the proposed rules in hearings November 16-17.

Here’s the news —

Denver Business Journal: Industry ‘disappointed’ by Colorado’s proposed oil and gas rules

Colorado’s oil and gas companies, already reeling from low crude oil commodity prices, got their first good look today at draft rules from the state designed to calm years of controversy over big wells drilled in and around neighborhoods unused to such activity.

Energy companies would be required to discuss their plans with local governments when they want to drill eight or more horizontal wells near homes, or if they expect that the oil and gas coming out of the ground would require 4,000 barrels or more of storage capacity onsite, under one state proposal.

They also might see new state limits on the amount of time they have to drill a series of wells and bring it into operation.

Those and other proposed rules are contained in a draft posted today on the website of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) …

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Daily Sentinel:  Drilling proposals immediately draw fire from both sides

Battle lines already are being drawn after state oil and gas regulators this week unveiled a proposal to act on a task force’s recommendations for addressing conflicts between drilling and residential development.

An industry group immediately criticized the draft proposal by Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission staff for going beyond what the task force had urged, while citizen activists countered that it doesn’t go far enough.

“While we are still reviewing the proposals in detail, it’s clear the draft rules far exceed the actual recommendations put forward by the Governor’s Task Force,” Dan Haley, president and chief executive officer of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, said in a prepared statement Wednesday.

Leslie Robinson, president of the Grand Valley Citizens Alliance in Garfield County, said in a news release, “We’re getting thrown under the bus here. We saw this process as an opportunity to address the problem of big oil and gas facilities being sited close to homes and communities. Instead, the (oil and gas) Commission is proposing to basically enshrine companies’ right to keep doing exactly that” …

… The commission’s rulemaking comes as Ursa Resources is pursuing state and Garfield County approvals to drill up to 53 wells from two pads in Battlement Mesa, an unincorporated residential development of several thousand people.

Dave Devanney, chair of Battlement Concerned Citizens, believes that based on a proposed trigger that considers the number of wells per pad and number of buildings within 1,000 feet of a pad, enhanced requirements to mitigate impacts would be required in the case of one of Ursa’s proposed pads and not the other.

The arbitrary result, he says, is that some residents would get relief under the proposal while others in the same community would not …

… The stakeholder meetings are scheduled for next Wednesday through Friday.

“We fully expect these proposed new and amended rules to continue to evolve during the stakeholder process, and we ask you to review the draft Rules in that light,” gas commission director Matt Lepore wrote to interested parties this week in providing an overview of the proposal.

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Summit County Citizens VoiceNot much love for new fracking rules

… “We are concerned that after several meetings between impacted citizens and the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, that the administration has chosen largely to ignore the needs and concerns of Colorado communities,” said Wendy Highby of Weld Air and Water from Greeley. “This rule seems designed to accommodate drilling in neighborhoods rather than protecting public health and welfare” …

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Post Independent (AP): Proposals for input on oil and gas locations under fire

DENVER — State regulators have released proposed rules to give local governments more of a say in the location of new oil and gas wells, and they quickly came under fire Wednesday from the energy industry and environmental groups …

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