New oil and gas setbacks to be discussed for Garfield County |

Garfield County to weigh in at COGCC hearing on proposed oil and gas setbacks from schools

The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission next week will discuss new regulations regarding setback requirements between oil and gas facilities and schools, for which the Garfield County commissioners voiced their general support Monday.

The setback rule changes would require new oil and gas wells and production facilities be sited no closer than 1,000 feet from the perimeter of a school or child care center property line, as opposed to the building itself, as is currently required.

Garfield County Oil and Gas Liaison Kirby Wynn discussed the Dec. 18 COGCC hearing with the commissioners at their meeting in Silt, and received guidance from the commissioners regarding the proposed rule changes.

Garfield County will have 15 minutes to present its case at the rule-making hearing.

According to the statement submitted to the COGCC, Garfield County generally supports the rule changes, with several modifications.

Wynn said the only non-consensus issue that remained stemmed around the inclusion of “child care centers” within the scope of the new rules. Garfield County’s testimony will not include child care facilities, which Wynn confirmed and the commissioners agreed to.

Wynn said the point of the rule is to extend to where children are likely to be, and child care centers are not fixed points in their community as schools are.

Other than issues regarding the wording, the commissioners’ comments regarding the rule change appeared to be minimal.

Next week’s hearing will include testimony from the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, Adams County Board of Commissioners and several local community organizations.

The League of Oil and Gas Impacted Coloradoans, as well as Conservation Colorado and Western Colorado Alliance, voiced their support for the commission’s willingness to revisit oil and gas setback regulations near schools. But, like Garfield County, it had several notes to the proposed draft.

The community organizations pushed to include child care centers in the draft, and also did not want any waivers or variances to the school setback rules to be allowed, according to their statement to the COGCC.

The groups also felt a five-year window was an appropriate time for the construction of a future school building where the setback would apply, whereas early drafts showed that number to be three years.

The hearing will begin at 9:30 a.m. Dec. 18 in Denver.

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