On April 16, 2019, Governor Polis signed Senate Bill 19-181 into law. This bill ensures that oil and gas development and operations in Colorado are regulated in a manner that protects public health, safety, welfare, the environment, and wildlife resources.
The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) has announced six (6) upcoming rulemakings it plans to undertake over the next 14 months in order to implement SB 181. The list is as follows:
- Change to mission. The new mission is to regulate in a manner that protects public health, safety, welfare, the environment and wildlife. No longer is the Commission directed to foster development and only consider potential adverse impacts when regulating.
- Alternative siting analysis for large oil and gas facilities near people. This will address locations of large facilities and facilities located near populated areas.
- Cumulative impacts, in conjunction with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Safety (CDPHE). SB 181 requires the COGCC, in conjunction with CDPHE, to undertake a rulemaking to address the cumulative impacts associated with oil and gas development.
- Flowlines. This will be primarily focused on making information about the locations of flowlines public.
- Permit fees. COGCC can set a fee that is related to the costs of permitting; no longer capped at $200 per permit.
- Changes to the Commissions’ procedural rules (the 500 series) to set up process for using administrative law judges and hearing officers to conduct hearings currently held only by the COGCC and to amend the evidentiary requirements for pooling and drilling and spacing unit applications.
- Information on the COGCC’s efforts to implement SB 181 can be found here: https://cogcc.state.co.us/sb19181.html#/overview
500 Series Rulemaking – Participation by the City of Lafayette
The City of Lafayette is a party to the 500 series rulemaking (#6). The purpose of the 500 Series Rulemaking is to make necessary changes to Commission Rules so that administrative law judges and hearing officers may preside over hearing matters and issue recommended orders to the Commission. Additionally, the 500 Series Rulemaking seeks to adopt SB 19-181’s statutory language concerning the evidentiary requirements for pooling and drilling and spacing unit applications. The procedural amendments to the 500 Series Rules are necessary to ensure that the Commission is processing hearing applications in accordance with SB 19-181. The City’s legal counsel is currently reviewing a draft of the proposed rules that the COGCC staff prepared.
The 500 series rulemaking is set for June 17 and 18, 2019. Being a party to the rulemaking allows the City to submit prehearing statements and responses as well as to provide testimony at the hearing. The City will be coordinating with Boulder County on prehearing conference statements and responses.
In May 2019, the Lafayette City Council approved a six-month extension to an existing moratorium on all land use applications related to the exploration or extraction, of oil and gas materials. One purpose of this extension is to allow time for Council to carefully consider, and potentially enact, new regulations intended to protect the City and its citizens from the negative impacts of oil and gas exploration and extraction. This moratorium will be in place through November 2019.
The City's Oil and Gas Information and Resources webpage provides a number of resources for residents looking to gather information including;
- A timeline of actions being taken by Lafayette City Council to address potential Oil and gas issues in Lafayette
- Oil and gas FAQs
- Lafayette well maps
- Public participation at the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC)
- Also included on this page is a link to the Boulder County Oil and Gas Development webpage.