Longmonts proposed oil and gas rules are not needed and not enforceable, according to the Colorado Oil and Gas Association and the Colorado Attorney Generals Office. The industry group is asking the city to reject the proposed regulations and work within the states robust regulatory framework, wrote Andrew Casper,
a COGA attorney.
In the meantime, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission have invited Longmont-area residents to bring their questions about state regulation of oil and gas development to a public outreach meeting Monday evening between 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the City of Longmonts Civic Center Complex on Kimbark St. State officials said the meeting will provide information about their agencies roles in regulating oil and gas development.
Information will be provided about existing regulations, and state staffers will be available to answer written questions about the regulatory aspects of oil and gas information, as well as to speak individually with interested residents.
Longmont has had a moratorium on oil and gas permits since December, and for the last several months has worked on developing the citys first new rules on drilling and operating wells in more than a decade. As drafted, the regulations set up a two-level system: a set of minimum standards that essentially reflect state guidelines and a more stringent set of recommended standards that companies can agree to in order to get a permit approved more quickly.
This is where it gets sticky. One of the bans in the new regulations drew a negative response from the state. Assistant attorney general Jake Matter wrote in a letter to city officials that if an operator already had a state permit allowing drilling in the area, the city would have no authority to block it.
The city should refrain from passing a residential development ban, Matter wrote, saying the city should instead work with the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission through its local government designee, city planner Brien Schumacher, to talk out local issues.
But Longmonts Mayor Dennis Coombs believes the city has taken a secure position, and said he is not ready to back up further.
My understanding is we pushed these yellow light issues because they have not been proven absolutely in court, Coombs was quoted in the Denver Post, referring to issues that have neither been denied to cities by a court (red light) nor expressly permitted (green light). Were drawing our line in the sand and saying This is our line.