Colorado mulls new rules for oil, gas drilling near schools
The Associated Press
DENVER (AP) — Colorado oil and gas regulators are considering enlarging the mandatory buffer zone between new wells and school property.
A proposal released by the state Oil and Gas Conservation Commission late Wednesday afternoon would require new wells to be at least 1,000 feet from buildings as well as outdoor areas that schools use, such as playgrounds and athletic fields.
Current rules require the same size buffer zone but measure it from school buildings, not outdoor areas. That allows wells to be closer to playgrounds and similar facilities.
Regulators could still allow wells closer if areas outside the buffer zone are deemed to be technically infeasible or economically impractical. School officials could also agree to allow wells within the buffer zone.
The rule would apply to future facilities as well as existing ones if schools plan to have them in place within three years.
In written comments, the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, an industry group, said it supported the new rules but asked for changes.
The association said the rules should make it clear that the expanded buffer zone does not apply to non-school facilities that are sometimes used for school activities, such as municipal tennis courts, golf courses and baseball fields.
The Oil and Gas Conservation Commission will consider the rule at a hearing Dec. 17 and 18.
The hearing will be held just six weeks after Colorado voters defeated a measure that would have required a buffer zone of 2,500 feet (750 meters) from occupied buildings and what the measure called vulnerable areas such as parks, creeks and irrigation canals.
The measure also would have allowed local governments to require even bigger buffer zones. The industry advertised heavily against it.
The proposed rule expanding the school buffer zone was separate from the ballot measure. The school rule has been in the works since August.
The latest draft of the proposed rule had not been posted on the commission’s website Wednesday.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
It’s a seller’s market in the used vehicle industry.