Denver Post: O & G regs are state’s job

Interesting that the notoriously left-wing Denver Post in an Aug. 1 editorial has sided with the state on oil & gas drilling …

Editorial: In Colorado, oil and gas regulations are the state’s job

The city of Longmont has been looking for a way to legally regulate oil and gas drilling near residential areas for most of this year.

Soon, we’ll find out if they’ve succeeded.
The Longmont City Council last month passed regulations that, notably, limit drilling in residential areas.

On Monday the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission filed a lawsuit asserting — correctly, in our view — that the Longmont rules interfere with the commission’s charge to regulate all drilling in the state.

Longmont’s rules were crafted under the guise of being within the city’s rights to oversee land use. But we think they veer too deep into regulating drilling, which is not their job.

Among other items, Longmont’s rules allow the city to rule on the “appropriateness” of drilling in certain areas; to place unprecedented limits on drilling in areas zoned for residential surface development; and to set environmental standards for drillers that are more strict than those required by the state.

In our view the rules were not crafted in response to existing drilling plans, but simply to make it unappealing, if not impracticable, for drilling to take place there.

As we have said before, that’s not the way oil and gas development should be handled in Colorado. We do not want a mish-mash of local regulations that make responsible energy development difficult.

We want and need regulations that give certainty to industry and provide appropriate environmental safeguards.

The commission has established a task force to review whether additional setbacks in residential areas — current law dictates at least 350 feet near homes — are needed. Their recommendations are expected in September, and can’t come soon enough.

Otherwise, the crazy quilt being stitched by Longmont and other governments will likely grow and it will be left to the courts to sort it out.

Read more: Editorial: In Colorado, oil and gas regulations are the state’s job – The Denver Post

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