Oil & Gas Hearings Set for January

If you want to give input on proposed oil and gas drilling regulations regarding air and water quality and public health and wildlife protection, you might want to attend one in a series of public meetings this month sponsored by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC.)In 2007, the state Legislature passed a bill directing the COGCC to augment environmental and public health safeguards in current oil and gas development regulations. In working committee sessions, oil and gas commission members and staff have been coordinating their efforts with the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Division of Wildlife in writing new proposed rulings, which will be discussed at the public hearings.

Some of the proposed changes in oil and gas regulations include:

–Requiring a 70 percent recovery of disturbed land from oil and gas development

–Asking for a voluntary comprehensive development plan if drilling occurs in residential areas or sensitive wildlife habitat

–Conducting public health studies that would review data to assess the potential risks associated with long-term, constant exposure to emissions from high-density oil and gas development

Some community activist groups like the Western Colorado Congress (WCC) felt the proposed regulations don’t go far enough. In a brochure sent to drilling impacted areas around Rifle, WCC outlined some of its concerns:

–The oil and gas industry should leave land as good as or better than they found it

–Gas well setbacks from homes should be a minimum of 1,000 feet instead of the current state law of 150 feet

–There should be a full disclosure of all chemicals used in oil and gas drilling and production and the state should prohibit the use of toxic chemicals in public water supply watersheds

More information on the location of the public meetings can be found here.

Thursday, Jan. 3
  5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
  Battlement Mesa Activity Center
  0398 Arroyo Drive, Parachute, CO 81635

Tuesday, Jan. 8
  5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
  Weld County Planning & Building Department
  918 10th St., Greeley, CO 80631

Wednesday, Jan. 9
  5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
  Wray City Hall
  245 W. 4th St., Wray, CO 80758

Monday, Jan. 14
  11 a.m.-2 p.m.
  La Plata County Fairgrounds
  2500 Main Ave., Extension Building, Animas and Florida Rooms, Durango, CO 81301

Friday, Jan. 18
  1 p.m.-3 p.m.
  Las Animas County Courthouse
  200 E. 1st St., Room 201, Trinidad, CO 81082