Larimer County Planning Commission to hold public hearing on oil and gas reg update Wednesday

Members of the public will have the opportunity to weigh in on proposed changes to Larimer County’s oil and gas land use regulations Wednesday at a hearing with the county Planning Commission.

The Board of County Commissioners approved the county’s first-ever set of oil and gas land use rules in 2020 following the passage of a state senate bill that in part allowed local governments to regulate the industry more strictly than the state.

Since then, two Democratic commissioners interested in tougher regs have been seated, and the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission has passed its own set of rules.

Members of the Planning Commission are expected to deliver a recommendation on the proposed update to the county rules on Wednesday, before the three-person Board of County Commissioners votes July 26.

Before the Planning Commission makes its recommendation, it will hear from the public on the changes, which include:

  • Requiring new oil and gas pipelines and seismic survey operations to submit to the county’s administrative special review process, which does not mandate a neighborhood meeting but does include a review by county staff.
  • Restricting oil and gas operations to a handful of non-residential zones.
  • Specifying unique setbacks for new oil and gas facilities from occupied buildings such as schools, public water supplies, outdoor amenities and surface water. Currently, operations are set back 1,000 feet by default.
  • Generally requiring reverse setbacks of 1,000 feet for new housing and commercial or mixed-use buildings from oil and gas facilities through the first two years of production, after which the reverse setback falls to 200-500 feet.
  • Defining requirements for baseline air quality monitoring, high-frequency monitoring and details of an Air Quality Mitigation Plan, as well as general best practices that could be used as approval conditions and special requirements during state-declared “Air Quality Advisory Days.”
  • Requiring leak detection be performed at least annually at all oil and gas facilities.
  • Increasing the frequency and scope of water well testing.

The hearing will begin at 6 p.m. in the hearing room at 200 W. Oak St. in Fort Collins. Individuals will be able to make comments lasting as long as 2 minutes either in person or via Zoom. One person may also speak for 10 minutes if they’re representing four others present.

Those interesting in attending virtually may register via Zoom at larimer-org.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_2i2dZPWgT-6R6_byMKOxcg.

More information and a copy of the proposed regulations are available at www.larimer.org/planning/phase-ii-larimer-county-land-use-code/oil-gas-regulations-phase-ii-update.