Larimer County proposes new setbacks on O&G sites

FORT COLLINS — Larimer County officials submitted a new round of rules for prospective oil and gas drilling operations, including setbacks from other buildings and additional environmental reports.

The draft rules would require drillers to maintain at least 1,000 feet of distance from any residential lot, 2,000 feet from any hospital, school or other high occupancy buildings and at least 500 feet from a body of water.

Drillers would also have to file multiple reports on how it would minimize emissions, odors, noise and potential discharge into local sources of water before the county would issue a drilling permit.

Larimer County is one of several Front Range counties proposing tighter restrictions than the state code in the months after state legislators passed Senate Bill 181, a sweeping reform on the oil and gas industry that changed the mission of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to prioritize human and environmental health and allowed local governments to enact their own additional rules.

Adams County, Boulder County and the cities of Erie and Louisville put temporary holds on all new drilling activity in their jurisdictions. Weld County, by far the state’s largest producer of oil and gas, has gone in the opposite direction in trying to form its own permitting department. That drew the ire of the COGCC, but the two sides have agreed to process any new applications within 60 days of submission.

There are 36 pending drilling applications in the county, according to COGCC data. The county currently has 206 active oil and gas wells, which produced just over 1.34 million barrels of oil and 7.35 million metric feet of natural gas in 2019.

The county planning commission will hear in-person comments on the proposals during its usual 6:30 p.m. meetings Feb. 19 and March 23 at the Larimer County Courthouse. Officials are also taking comments via email at laffermn@larimer.org.

FORT COLLINS — Larimer County officials submitted a new round of rules for prospective oil and gas drilling operations, including setbacks from other buildings and additional environmental reports.

The draft rules would require drillers to maintain at least 1,000 feet of distance from any residential lot, 2,000 feet from any hospital, school or other high occupancy buildings and at least 500 feet from a body of water.

Drillers would also have to file multiple reports on how it would minimize emissions, odors, noise and potential discharge into local sources of water before the county would issue a drilling permit.

Larimer County is one of several Front Range counties proposing tighter restrictions than the state code in the months after state legislators passed Senate Bill 181, a sweeping reform on the oil and gas industry that changed the mission of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to prioritize human and environmental health and allowed local governments to enact their own additional rules.

Adams County, Boulder County and the cities of Erie and Louisville put temporary holds on all new drilling activity in their jurisdictions. Weld County, by far the state’s largest producer of oil and gas, has gone in the opposite direction in trying to form its own permitting department. That drew the ire of the COGCC, but the two sides have agreed to process any new applications within 60 days of submission.

There are 36 pending drilling applications in…