Oil and gas commission seeks public input

Phillip YatesPost Independent StaffGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Two meetings next week will give area residents and elected officials the chance to sound off on continuing oil and gas development in northwest Colorado.The first of five public meetings across the state about the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission’s rule-making process to implement House bills 1298 and 1341, which the state legislature passed earlier this year, will be held from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Battlement Mesa Activity Center, 0398 Arroyo Drive in Parachute. The meeting is open to the public.The bills direct the COGCC and the Colorado Wildlife Commission to adopt rules to minimize adverse impacts to wildlife and the environment by oil and gas operations. Adoption of the final rules is expected by July 1.Doug Hock, a spokesman for EnCana Oil & Gas (USA), said the meeting is important enough that the company has asked its employees and contractors to attend.”This rule-making could have a huge impact on the way we do business going forward,” Hock said.A meeting the next day in Denver will bring together officials from the largest oil and gas counties, a representative from Gov. Bill Ritter’s office and Colorado’s legislative bodies, said Garfield County Commissioner John Martin. He plans to attend the Friday meeting.”We will be discussing, at length, several different oil and gas legislative actions that are being proposed,” Martin said. “We will get a feel about how the rest of the other large counties see (oil and gas development), either as a hindrance or a help.”Topics that Martin expects will be discussed include severance taxes, regulations on setbacks, transportation, roads, temporary housing on well pads, and continued air and water quality testing. “There will be quite a few things that will be coming up,” Martin said. “What we want to do is make sure the No. 1 issue is that we have the safety and health of the citizens in mind first. We are also going to see what we can do to either lessen the impacts on these folks or to work more rapidly to get the impacts over with quicker.”Martin said he feels that most legislators are “zeroing” in on the dollars that come from oil and gas development in the state.”They are not seeing the other issues,” Martin said. “So it is up to us to bring those impacts and those issues forward and not just talk about how to spend dollars.”Contact Phillip Yates: 384-9117pyates@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO

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