COGCC rulemaking hearings begin next week

November 11, 2015

COGCC, Colorado, oil and gas drilling

Drilling pad and sound wall next to a home on the outskirts of Battlement Mesa. Ursa Resources is now moving to drill within the community.

Drilling pad and sound wall next to a home on the outskirts of Battlement Mesa. Ursa Resources’ application to drill 53 wells within the community was approved last month by the GarCo planning commission.

The COGCC rulemaking hearings will begin next week in Denver to discuss:

  1. the location of large scale oil and gas facilities near homes
  2. local governments authority over oil and gas development within their boundaries

COGCC Public Comment & Formal Hearing
Monday, November 16 & Tuesday, November 17
Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel, 1150 Court Place

Click here for the hearing agenda.

For more information go to 2015 Governor’s Task Force Rulemaking

Western Colorado Congress invites west slope residents to attend the hearings. WCC can help with transportation and lodging. Click here to sign up.

In an email this week, WCC community organizer Emily Hornback reported:

These draft “residential drilling” rules are an incredible disappointment. Far from offering solutions and relief to communities, the proposed rules will continue to permit drilling in residential areas with hardly a blink of an eye. In fact, the current rules will impact less than 1% of the oil and gas locations in Colorado.

These so called “residential drilling rules” have been months in the making. WCC members have been meeting with the COGCC since July, asking for common sense regulations to address the growing problem of large scale oil and gas facilities built right next to schools, hospitals, and subdivisions.

Although the outcome of this rulemaking is uncertain, we are committed to seeing this process through. If the COGCC will not offer solutions, then WCC and our allies will work together to find a way forward. One thing is for sure, the fight is far from over and we won’t stop until communities have the regulations they need to protect their healthy, property, and quality of life.

For an in-depth look at how the COGCC has corrupted the original task force recommendations read:

Cynicism confirmed
New COGCC draft regulations fail to meet expectations

… The COGCC released new draft regulations for “large scale oil and gas facilities” at the beginning of October in an attempt to mitigate the ongoing concerns of local governments and communities regarding oil and gas development near homes and schools throughout Colorado. But … several individuals as well as community groups, local governments and even members of Gov. Hickenlooper’s now-disbanded Oil and Gas Task Force are publically criticizing the draft regulations.

“Unless the oil and gas conservation commission makes significant changes and takes local governments seriously as they deliberate and adopt this rule, it will fall far short of addressing the problem it was created to solve,” says Boulder County Commissioner Elise Jones. “And it will just be another disappointing experience where once again Colorado residents are not adequately protected from the industrial, intensive activity of oil and gas development in neighborhoods” …

**********

Stakeholders remain critical of proposed oil and gas rules

… The first draft of both rules garnered criticism from both sides, with conservationists and citizen groups arguing that the rules did not do enough to address the original task force recommendations, and industry representatives arguing that the rules went beyond those same recommendations.

A second draft of the rules, released Oct. 23, “did not make significant substantive changes,” COGCC Director Matthew Lepore wrote in a cover letter.

Lepore went on to say that further development of issues raised by stakeholders is essential to the process.

Consequently, some of those stakeholders maintain the same concerns previously voiced.

“We kind of feel that the [COGCC] staff chose an easy way out and did not consider a lot of our concerns in the final draft. That’s why we’re continuing to fight,” said Leslie Robinson, president of the Grand Valley Citizens Alliance. (Lepore stated in his letter that COGCC staff does not believe the rules should be adopted as they are.)

Among the issues raised by Robinson’s group — which has partnered with other community organizations, including several in Weld County — is the lack of authority local governments would have in determining the location of drilling operations in close proximity to residents.

Additionally, comments submitted by the partnering groups take issue with the COGCC’s definition of an urban mitigation area — which was defined in a previous rule — as well as the proposed definition of a “large urban mitigation area facility.” Both are intended for the Front Range and not rural parts of the state, argued Robinson.

“Are they saying that rural lives don’t count?” she asked …

Read more:

Oil and gas task force member takes COGCC to task
Open letter from task force member Jim Fitzgerald to COGCC

Drilling debate plays out in Battlement Mesa
Daily Sentinel editorial

“Residential Drilling Rule” fails to protect impacted communities
WCC and Grand Valley Citizen’s Alliance response to COGCC Draft Rules

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One Comment on “COGCC rulemaking hearings begin next week”

  1. mindseyeco Says:

    Please come testify. Members of the public attending the rulemaking on Monday morning without prenotifying the COGCC will be allowed 1-2 minutes each to speak. Those giving prenotification will hav 4 minutes each.

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