The following summary was prepared by Rick Casey with input from others who attended the Fort Collins City Council meeting on December 20, when the first reading of revised draft oil and gas regulations took place. I will let Rick’s excellent account speak for itself:
This is a quick summary of the city council meeting I attended, where the first reading of the proposed O&G regulations was discussed. Kevin Cross asked if I could write this up, so I did.
Two other members of the Larimer Alliance (LA) attended (Ed Behan and John McDonagh), as well as Kevin Cross (KC), who presented on behalf of the FCSG. Another woman, Barbara Goldman, also spoke to the regulations on her own behalf. She urged the Council to simply ban all O&G activity within city limits.
After waiting for the agenda item to come up at around 7pm, the three Larimer Alliance members all spoke against it, mostly on the basis of the approval process being too compressed for meaningful public participation. On behalf of the FCSG, KC said much the same, and also mentioned the lack of financial assurance in them, in order to guarantee the O&G operator will be able to properly plug and abandon the well at its end of life. Lamentably, public commenters were limited to two minutes each, hardly enough time to make a meaningful comment.
Once public comment was done, two city staff members who have worked on the issue briefed the Council. They showed a map that illustrated how much land will be “drillable” under the new regs (which is quite limited), and reviewed, in fair detail but quickly, the work that staff had done on this issue up to this point. Council members then commented on the proceedings.
The Council approved the first reading, but delayed the second reading until April 4, 2023. I assume this means that revisions to the regulations can still be made, but I don’t know how much public input will be possible.
In hindsight, the LA felt satisfied that their detailed critique of the first draft of the regulations had been well considered by city staff, which resulted in the second draft, published prior the meeting.
The video recording can be seen here:
The LA Steering Committee will be considering its options in the meantime.
(Footnote: the comments made by representatives of the Larimer Alliance, Fort Collins Sustainability Group, and other community members appear around 1:56:35 in the recording)