Weld County commissioners push oil and gas talks again | MyWindsorNow.com

Weld County commissioners push oil and gas talks again

Catherine Sweeney
csweeney@greeleytribune.com

Weld County officials have postponed oil and gas regulation talks a handful of times since January, and they did so again Monday.

The Board of Weld County Commissioners got the ball rolling last year. Political tension between the board and state regulators spurred the talks, and leaders also want the rules to give more protection to landowners.

The new rules would require oil and gas companies to get a special permit before building oil sites in agricultural areas, a process most other industries already face.

In Weld County, officials have to hold three hearings on a new regulation before voting to adopt it. They've been postponing the second discussion since a Jan. 4 meeting.

The state's regulatory agency, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, worked to update some of its regulations, and commissioners felt a number of them usurped local governments' power. The new permitting process would take some of that power back, officials argue. The special permit requires two hearings, which would allow landowners and neighbors an opportunity to voice grievances to the commissioners.

Commissioners were waiting to get an agreement with the COGCC before moving forward. However, agency officials recently said they want to see finalized rules before signing an agreement, said County Attorney Bruce Barker.

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Monday's delay came after a stakeholder meeting with industry representatives, he said. Higher-ups generally don't like rules like this one, and workers said the rules didn't go far enough.

They plan to hold a public stakeholder meeting before commissioners pick up talks again during the regular meeting at 9 a.m. Oct. 31 in the Weld County Administration Building, 1150 O St.