The Larimer Alliance for Health, Safety, and the Environment has called on Larimer County to stop all applications and review regulations governing oil and gas development.
The call for the halt on oil and gas applications took place at the first meeting since the Larimer County Board of County Commissioners were sworn in. In April of last year, the rules were passed as a revision to the county’s overall land-use plan.
The Colorado Oil and Gas Commission (COGCC) has enacted regulations for the industry statewide. Two commissioners have been replaced since then by election.
Larimer County Commissioner Jody Shadduck-McNally has stated that the request has been received very recently. The Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) has not had an opportunity to review it in detail and discuss it with one another or with staff. She has also stated that the BOCC has a process to thoroughly review requests such as this, consider options and decide how to respond and proceed.
The Larimer Alliance asserts that county commissioners should prioritize revising the regulations before the Wednesday, March 24 timeline with a six-month moratorium starting immediately. The Larimer Alliance has asked the county for 24-hour comprehensive and independent air quality monitoring to assess and guide remediation of the region’s air.
A few points Larimer Alliance has stated as failures of the county’s existing plan are as follows:
- Insufficient setbacks from schools, homes, large occupancy buildings, and critical water resources
- Weak regulation of non-emergency venting and flaring on oil and gas sites, compared with COGCC’s rules
- Insufficient documentation of operators’ ability to fulfill their financial obligations, including appropriate closure and restoration at the end of any project
- No defined penalties for infractions.
The previous BOCC approved the Larimer County oil and gas regulations on Monday, April 6, 2020, with one provision being to review local regulations within 120 days of the COGCC adopting the state regulations to ensure alignment between local and state guidelines. The COGCC adopted the state rules on Tuesday, November 24, 2020, and the county’s planning. The community development staff is currently reviewing and analyzing the state rules to make recommendations to the BOCC on changes in local rules to address discrepancies such as the different setback requirements.
“Please note that we will get an update on these matters and the process and timeframe for moving forward with updating our oil and gas regulations this Monday afternoon, 1:30-2:30, at our Community Planning, Infrastructure & Resources work session, which is broadcast,” wrote Larimer County Commissioner John Kefalas in an email. “It should be noted that since adopting the rules last April, our planning department has not received any applications,” Commissioner Kefalas wrote.
For more information regarding the Larimer Alliance for Health, Safety, & the Environment, visit: www.larimeralliance.org or call 970-631-8211.