THE FOLLOWING MESSAGE WENT OUT AS AN EMAIL TO OUR COMMUNITY FOLLOWING PASSAGE OF NEW OIL AND GAS REGULATIONS IN LARIMER COUNTY BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS:
The Larimer Board of County Commissioners passed an amended set of regulations for oil and gas development in a marathon session on the night of Thursday, July 29th, a continuation of another hearing earlier that week. Our side made a good pitch for even stronger regulations, and the oil and gas opposition clearly indicated they wanted no further regulation whatsoever.
The new regulations are clearly better than the weak set of rules passed by the previous, predominantly Republican Board in 2020. But we still find there are omissions in key protections for our communities, our environment, the county’s natural open lands, and critical wildlife habitat. Both Commissioners Jody Shadduck-McNally and Kristin Stephens submitted amendments to improve protections, particularly in regards to setting wider setbacks and keeping natural resources and forestry lands out of development. Significantly, Commissioner Stephens said this about the new regulations:
“(I) wanted to make sure that we are protecting health and welfare and protecting our environment, which is so important here in Northern Colorado, I think that we’ve achieved that. We may not have created a perfect product. And the good thing about it is it’s not set in stone; this is something that we can revise and review periodically to make sure we have it right.”
In describing her “north star” in proposing amendments to the proposed regulations, Commissioner Shadduck-McNally stated:
“The question was not where the oil and gas facility is located … but whether any location proposed should be approved in the first place. I feel SB-181 gave us those tools to really use that north star to really take seriously this responsibility of not just current residents but future residents.”
See the attached transcripts of coverage from the Fort Collins Coloradoan and Loveland Reporter-Herald.
None of this would have happened without you!
The comments and messages you got into the County Commissioners in favor of
strong, comprehensive oil and gas rules were critical to this process!
At this point, we are all heaving a bit of a sigh of relief that the revision process is done. We will be contemplating other avenues to stay on top of related issues as the new regulations go into effect on September 15th:
- Air Quality Monitoring – There is still a need for comprehensive site-based and regional air quality monitoring, possibly in conjunction with city and state entities within the Larimer County area.
- Water Quality – Recent research by some of our members indicates we may have to closely watch what is done in terms of disposal of “produced water” from drilling sites, with concerns about a particular section of land that has already been a site of discharges into the Box Elder Creek drainage.
- State Regulatory Processes – We have been party to some of the rulemaking programs at the State level, and continued work on that is in the offing as the COGCC and other agencies look to correct some of the deficiencies of their recent regulatory revisions.
Whatever is happening, the Larimer Alliance will work to see that the key protections of our health, safety, and environment are correctly implemented and strengthened whenever possible. Our community will be an important source for information on critical issues as they arise. Your input on things affecting your neighborhood and family will help us as we move forward.
Remember that your voice is important
in defense of our community and our planet!
Thank you all once again for all you do!
Check on relevant events on our Calendar Page!ALLIANCE - Coloradoan Article on Larimer O and G Regs
A very informative article from Peggy Tibbetts, who’s been writing about the anti-fracking and other environmental issues in western Colorado for some time. What’s quite interesting is how locals created a website to show exactly how the county commissioners used tax dollars to resist the implementation of SB-181, which is supposed to protect the health and environment and make that the priority, over promoting the oil and gas industry. It would appear that the Garfield County Commissioners are acting against the intent of the law: