COGCC takes on school setbacks

December 7, 2018

Colorado, oil and gas drilling

In November 2017, Crestone Peak Resources was forced to temporarily shut down its oil & gas operations after the COGCC found it violated safety practices near Aspen Ridge Elementary School in the Town of Erie. [Photo credit: Denver7]

This month the COGCC will take up a rulemaking on school setbacks. Click here to see the Final Draft School Setbacks Rules.

PRESS RELEASE

The hearing schedule for school setbacks:

Tuesday, December 18
9:30 a.m.
Wasatch Hearing Room
COGCC Main Office:
1120 Lincoln St. (8th Floor)
Denver, CO

The sign up will begin on December 12.

Take acton TODAY! Tell the COGCC it is time to put kids first.
Submit your written comments or sign up to speak by 5:00 p.m. today.
Email: Julie.prine@state.co.us
Subject: School Setbacks Rule Making

General Public Comment Sign-Up

Last year, LOGIC (League of Oil and Gas Impacted Coloradans) filed a petition to the commission pushing the COGCC to require that oil and gas be setback at least 1,000 feet from the property line of schools and childcare facilities. The current rule states that a facility must be just 1,000 feet from a school building.

What does this mean? This means that when a school has a park, athletic field, or learning area that it leases from a local government, the facility would need to be at least 1,000 feet from the boundary of that use area.

The rule also states that any exception to this rule would require a hearing of the COGCC in the area of proposed site.

See below for general talking points regarding the proposed rule:

  • It is ridiculous that we are having this conversation, that operators continue to insist they have the right to site heavy industrial facilities near schools.
  • It is ridiculous that operators assert that they have the right to Force pool school districts and force them into leasing their minerals and turn them into liable partners in oil and gas operations.
  • This rulemaking — moving oil and gas facilities to be set back at least 1,000 feet from “School Use Areas” is an important first step in getting industrial oil and gas operations further away from kids — for some this isn’t nearly enough.
  • It is more than high time these industrial operations be as far away as possible from everywhere on a school property where kids play and learn – including outdoor learning labs, sports fields, modular classrooms, and playgrounds.
  • Oil and gas operators must be required to consult with local schools and local governments on the boundaries, and be required to be setback at least 1,000 feet (more) from anywhere where kids play.
  • Last year, Aspen Ridge Elementary School was closed on account of a well, venting near the school. These industrial operations need to be moved as far away as possible (and sometimes denied) from our schools to stop exposing our kids to high levels of VOCs.
  • In 2017, a high school football game in Greeley was evacuated on account of a valve failure that caused a methane feet just 600 feet from a football field. The well did not precede the high school, and a spokesperson for the operator noted that this happens regularly in the field.
  • Industrial traffic for oil and gas sites and school drop off lines do not mix. This rule must to include input from the school and local government as to traffic patterns for any site that would be on a school traffic route — regardless of how far.
  • The rule falls short and should include child care centers and their property lines.
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