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OIL AND GAS REGULATIONS UPDATE

 

The City of Westminster is reviewing its existing oil and gas regulations and preparing to update the regulations to meet the City’s best interests. Currently the City does not have any active oil and gas wells. The last active well, near Saint Anthony’s North Hospital Campus, was shut down earlier this year. However, there is still potential for drilling within the City’s municipal limits as the City is located within both the Niobrara and Denver Oil and Gas Basins.

In May of 2019, the State Legislature and the Governor amended the Oil and Gas Conservation Act to allow local municipalities to exercise limited regulatory authority over oil and gas facilities within their jurisdiction. The new legislation also changed the mandate of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) from a mission of “fostering” oil and gas development to one of “regulating” oil and gas development.   

The City has hired Elizabeth Paranhos of Delone Law Inc. to advise the City in revising its regulations. Ms. Paranhos has worked for many local governments across the State to advise them with oil and gas issues. Most recently, she helped the City and County of Broomfield with their new regulations, adopted in May of 2020. The City is working with the COGCC and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to understand how their new regulations will affect oil and gas operations in the City. The City will also continue to communicate with oil and gas industry trade groups, like the Colorado Oil and Gas Association (COGA), on the revised regulations.

The City encourages citizen participation and actively seeks input from the community on new development regulations. You can provide comments or questions by contacting the City staff at the phone number and email address below.

FACTS

Why update our regulations?

  • The current oil and gas regulations were last adopted in 1997.
  • New technologies, like horizontal drilling, have been developed that the existing regulations do not address.
  • Applications for Oil and Gas Wells, like the ones near Standley lake in late 2018, brought concerns about how future Oil and Gas Wells might affect the community.
  • A new state law, commonly called SB19-181, now allows local governments to regulate oil and gas within their jurisdiction.

How are these new regulations being drafted?

  • The City is looking at surrounding jurisdictions, such as the City and County of Broomfield, Adams County, and Thornton, for examples of best practices.
  • The City has hired a legal consultant to guide the creation of the regulations to ensure that they protect and minimize adverse impacts to public health, safety, and welfare, the environment, and wildlife resources.

What is the City not allowed to regulate?

  • The City cannot outright ban Oil and Gas Facilities.
  • The City cannot regulate “down well” activities, such as horizontal drilling and fracking.
  • The City cannot regulate Oil and Gas Facilities outside of our jurisdiction. This would include the unincorporated enclaves of the City, such as Shaw Heights.
  • The City’s new regulations must be “reasonable” and to protect and minimize adverse impacts to public health, safety and welfare, the environment, and wildlife resources.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

To learn more about the regulations of the COGCC and our neighboring communities, please use the links below:

 

CONTACTS

Jacob P. Kasza, Planner
4800 W. 92nd Avenue
Westminster, Colorado 80031
303-658-2123
jpkasza@cityofwestminster.us