All posts by Ed Behan

Larimer Alliance Surveys Fort Collins Mayoral and City Council Candidates on O&G Issues

The following questionnaire was circulated to all candidates of mayor or city council seats in Fort Collins’ upcoming municipal election in April 2021:

Dear Candidate,

Fort Collins needs leaders committed to protecting our health, safety, and environment at local, regional, and global scales that affect our quality of life now and into the future. The Larimer Alliance for Health, Safety & Environment asks you to share your ideas and to clarify what you will do as an elected leader to protect our community and environment, especially regarding threats and harms posed by oil & gas (O&G) development around Fort Collins and in the Front Range. We will share this information with our members and may endorse candidates. Please respond by March 8th to [email protected].

Thank you for your leadership in Fort Collins and your commitment and dedication to seek the office of Mayor and City Council.  We look forward to your responses.

1.  Have you received, will you accept, or will you refuse to accept campaign contributions from donors and companies from the O&G industry or with strong financial interests in O&G development?  If your campaign has already accepted O&G donations will it give them back? Please explain.

2.  SB19-181 substantially revised Colorado’s law governing O&G development: establishing clear priority to protect public health, safety, environment, and wildlife resources. SB181 also provides for significant local government authority to regulate O&G development, allowing local governments to increase protection of public health, safety, environment and wildlife resources beyond state minimum standards.

Do you think that Fort Collins should adopt new regulations for O&G development? If yes, what scope of regulations will you advocate the City to adopt? 

A substantial body of peer-reviewed scientific research shows significant negative health impacts from close proximity to O&G operations.

Do you support a 2000’ or 2500’ setback from homes, schools & their playgrounds, high occupancy buildings, outdoor recreation areas (such as parks and trails), and water sources from new O&G operations? Please explain.

Fort Collins currently has a reverse setback of 500’ for new residential construction from existing O&G facilities, and allows exceptions for reduced reverse setbacks.

Do you support increasing the reverse setback without exception? Please explain. 

3.  The American Lung Association gives Fort Collins’ air quality an “F” grade, and ranks it the 19th worst out of 229 American cities. NCAR’s FRAPPÉ study found conclusively that O&G emissions are the major driver of unhealthy air quality in the northern Front Range. Emissions from O&G operations also cause significant spikes in pollutants that impact 1) local areas in proximity to O&G sites and facilities, and 2) regional air quality harming entire Front Range communities. A growing number of local governments have undertaken air quality monitoring programs capable of measuring and reporting pollutants in real time, including signature pollutants emitted from O&G operations and facilities.

What do think Fort Collins should do to address its air quality problem(s)? 

Would you support 24/7 monitoring and real-time reporting of air quality and emissions at all O&G sites and facilities in proximity to Fort Collins? Should this monitoring and reporting be paid for by the operator? Please explain.

Would you support 24/7 monitoring and real-time reporting of air quality and signature O&G pollutant emissions for addressing regional air quality problems affecting Fort Collins? Should this regional monitoring and reporting be paid for by the O&G industry? Please explain. 

Would you support collaboration by Fort Collins with other Front Range communities in taking legal action against polluters responsible for emissions that harm Fort Collins air quality, such as polluters in neighboring counties? Please explain.

4.  Fort Collins is one of four municipalities that own and govern the Platte River Power Authority (PRPA) which provides electricity to the four municipalities including Fort Collins. In 2019, PRPA committed to achieving 100% clean energy generation by 2030. PRPA recently adopted a plan that includes building and operating a new natural gas-powered turbine around the same time it retires its Rawhide Coal Plant, which will be in conflict with PRPA’s stated commitment to 100% clean energy.

Would you support holding PRPA to the goal of 100% clean energy by 2030? Please explain.

Would you support requiring PRPA to establish and report with interim targets (such as for 2023, 2025, 2027) for achieving 100% clean energy? Please explain.

5.  An investment company is advancing a proposal to drill hundreds of wells in northern Larimer County which could negatively impact local residents, air quality, City-owned natural area and wildlife, and the environment in northern Larimer County.

Would you take a strong position for the City to actively oppose this type of O&G development? Please explain.

Respectfully,

Ed Behan, Media Liaison

instructions and hints for public comment at bocc’s tuesday morning meetings

An opportunity exists at 9:00 AM every Tuesday morning to speak during the public comment period at the start of the Board of County Commissioners Administrative Matters Meeting. This is currently being conducted in their hearing room on the first floor of the County Courthouse and Administrative Building at 200 West Oak St, Fort Collins, CO  80521.

We are asking people to show up at the meetings in person, by phone, or by email submitted before the Tuesday morning meetings. Our focus is encouraging the Commissioners to enact a moratorium on oil and gas project applications while the County revises their current regulations to conform with. . . or surpass. . . the new Colorado State regulations. 

The information below been extracted directly from the County website and contains details on schedule and signing up for phone comment, as well as how to submit comment by email:

Tuesday mornings, 9:00am – 12:00pm

Administrative Matters meeting, Hearing Room, 1st Floor: Discussion items and the Consent Agenda are viewable in the Commissioners’ Office or at https://www.larimer.org/bocc/commissioners-meetings#/uws/

PLEASE NOTE: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and limited room capacity, in addition to in-person comments, we are taking comments via email and by phone. You must register in advance to participate by phone. Either email [email protected] or call 970-498-7010 and provide your name, topic for comment and phone number. You will be called at that number when it is your turn. Please submit your email comment to [email protected] 

For talking points, you can refer to our pending request to the County Commissioners on the Larimer Alliance blog, or feel free to reach out to us here for more information.

Remember this is a weekly meeting, every Tuesday morning!

We can keep attention focused on this issue going forward.

 

Larimer Alliance calls on Larimer County to extend timeline for revision of local Oil & Gas regulations

The following letter was submitted to the Larimer Board of County Commissioners and the Larimer County Planning Department, with copies to the Planning Commission and County Manager.

February 8, 2021

Dear Commissioners and Staff,

We applaud the Larimer County staff and Commissioners Kefalas, Shadduck-McNally and Stevens, and the Larimer County Planning Commissioners for quickly embarking on the process of reviewing and revising the Larimer County oil and gas regulations (and land use code) which were passed in April 2020, but mandated for review after the State completed (Mission Change) rulemaking required by SB19-181.

At the 1-25-21 BOCC Work Session, Mr. Lafferty proposed a process and a timeline of completing revision of County regulations by April 26, 2021 with no plan released for public participation. Mr. Lafferty also indicated that he would release relevant information for the regulation revision on March 10, only six weeks before the April completion deadline. Although Mr. Lafferty recently released a questionnaire and other pertinent information via email to previous contacts involved in the County’s regulation development process, the public deserves a longer time frame for public participation. Review and revision of the County regulations and land use code are likely to be extensive. We ask for a timeline that is sufficient to enable an exchange of information and dialogue. Many areas of the County regulations now fall far below revised State regulations. Indeed, in comparison, the County regulations are weak, unprotective, and do not reflect the goals of the constituents nor the clear intent of SB19-181 to prioritize public health, safety, welfare, the environment and wildlife.  In addition, State law allows local governments to be more protective than State regulations which calls for additional consideration of protective regulatory decisions. 

The County staff, under the previous BOCC, informed the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) that the County would not give input on pending oil and gas facility applications within Larimer County.  Unless the County has communicated a different message to COGCC, this remains the County’s stance on applications being considered by COGCC. Currently COGCC has six applications for well pads, one injection well application, and applications for recompletions.  We want our County to be involved in these applications and all future applications for oil and gas facilities and for recompletions.  We ask that the County communicate to COGCC clarifying this new stance. This request could simply consist of informing the COGCC that the County wishes to take advantage of new COGCC rules, which also give Counties the right to local government consultation for any applications within boundaries and applications within 2000 feet outside their boundaries, (as proximate local governments).

We urge the BOCC to put a moratorium on pending applications at the County level while the County’s regulations are being revised. We ask for a 6-month moratorium.  It would be time and energy intensive for the County staff to be revising the oil and gas regulations while simultaneously working with operators and the COGCC on applications for amending existing locations, recompletions or new locations. We ask that both types of processes be done separately allowing staff to give its full attention first to regulations revision and later to oil and gas facility applications. 

We also urge BOCC to inform the COGCC that Larimer County wants a hold on all pending and future applications for the same length of time as the moratorium. The BOCC can request that the COGCC hold consideration of Form 2 and 2A. and injection well permits pertaining to Larimer County during this timeframe to better preserve Larimer County’s ability to engage in the process and protect its residents and environment.

In sum, we are asking for:

  1. A sufficient timeline for public process:  A public process that allows adequate time for thorough review and revision of Larimer County Oil & Gas regulations.
  1. The County to provide input to the State on all current and future applications: Please tell the COGCC the County is changing its earlier stance and now wants to review and provide input for every pending and new Larimer County oil and gas facility application, including recompletions, effective immediately.
  2. Implementation of a moratorium: We urge the County to put a moratorium on all Oil and Gas applications at the County level for 6-months while the County is revising its regulations.
  3. Request the COGCC to hold pending applications: We urge the BOCC to request COGCC to hold new or pending applications at the State level for the same duration as the County moratorium.

Thank you for your consideration of these requests.

Ed Behan on behalf of Larimer Alliance for Health, Safety & the Environment

Larimer Alliance Calls for O&G Moratorium While County Revises Regulations (cover letter)

January 19, 2021

Larimer County Commissioners, 

Congratulations to Jody Shadduck-McNally and Kristin Stephens on your successful election to the Larimer County Board of County Commissioners. We look forward to working with you along with Commissioner John Kefalas.

We understand that the pandemic has disrupted our county’s budgets as well as the health and livelihoods of its residents, and so you begin your service like racehorses at a gate. We ask that you include an investigation of local oil and gas regulations in your first-tier of business as well. The effort dovetails battling the disruption of Covid 19. It also aligns with the Climate Action Plan instigated by Commissioner Kefalas and sought by a majority of voters. 

Covid 19 most often kills via the respiratory system. Now is the time to realize our long fight for clean air in Northern Colorado. We may not control the pandemic, but we can help our residents in recovery by addressing air quality. We’re looking for the will of our commissioners to lead the way. 

The attached letter is an overview of where we see frightening gaps in governance of oil and gas in our county boundaries. We’ve made suggestions and we stand ready to serve by clarifying our  concerns and assisting connections with experts on state regulations. We also can help compare how other counties are responding to SB-181. 

We look forward to participating in our county’s direction, and to doing our best to facilitate support you need in your jobs. Please never hesitate to ask us for information, a connection or to respond to proposal ideas. 

With respect and well wishes,

Larimer Alliance for Health, Safety & Environment

Tim Gosar, Chair

League of Oil and Gas Impacted Coloradans

Andrew Forkes-Gudmondsun, Deputy Director