Larimer County Oil and Gas Regulations in Progress
While the Board of Larimer County Commissioners decided Monday that the county won’t weigh in now on 12 horizontal oil and gas wells proposed to be drilled under the city of Loveland , county input on the situation is not off the table.
In a work session with several members of the county staff, the commissioners decided that given the county’s lack of firsthand information to study the issue, it is best for the county to simply pass along verbatim Loveland’s objection letter to the wells, taking no additional stance on the matter before the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, which governs all oil and gas permitting in the state.
However, the county is currently working on some oil and gas regulations of its own, said principal planner Matt Lafferty. Unlike the city of Loveland, which has an optional set of stricter rules for drilling within city limits, Larimer County does not have any regulations added to those dictated by the state that govern drilling.
Loveland asked the county if it would support the city’s objections to the wells by filing comments on Larimer’s behalf with the state, Lafferty said. The objections are filed with the COGCC online and are taken into consideration by the state when it reviews the project’s permits for approval.
The ongoing comment period precedes the state’s review of permits related to above-ground drilling activity for the project, which is being undertaken by oil and gas company Magpie Operating Inc. The approval of the below-ground permits for the wells is on hold, pending a review of the well locations.
“The comments are taken very seriously at the state level,” Lafferty said. “But, if I said to you as a resident, ‘I don’t want you running horizontal drilling under my house a mile deep,’ that’s something that’s permitted by state law, so it’s probably, unless I have some compelling reason to say ... and I can prove that, then it’s merely like saying ‘I don’t like the house next door being blue.’”
If the state decides to also approve the above-ground permits, an appeal of the decision would result in a public hearing before the COGCC. The county commissioners will decide later if the county should be the entity to request an appeal, and upon what argument, Lafferty said.
Larimer County’s new oil and gas regulations will likely be finished around April or May, Lafferty said.
There are currently several oil and gas permits under consideration by the COGCC in Larimer County. Oil and gas development is robust in Weld County, Lafferty pointed out to the board.
“It’s coming our way,” Lafferty told the commissioners. “That’s why we think it’s important to start talking about regulations.”
Julia Rentsch: 970-699-5404, firstname.lastname@example.org .