Commissioners consider new O&G public process

Delta County Commissioners plan to discuss proposed changes to the county’s Specific Development Regulations that would repeal its rules governing oil and gas development in a public meeting on Sept. 3, 2019. Instead, commissioners are considering “an alternative process and approach” that would waive local authority to regulate oil and gas activities to the state — at least for the time being.
 
The idea was originally floated by county staff in a meeting of the Delta County Oil & Gas Working Group on July 24. The head of Delta’s planning department, Elyse Ackerman Casselberry, and the county’s oil and gas regulation appointee, Tony Vervloet, spoke in favor of repealing Delta County’s current oil and gas regulations and relying on the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) to review proposed development until the state’s rule-making process is complete, when the county would consider regulating again.
 
Members of the committee expressed concern about gaps that would be created by giving up local control including the loss of public notice. COGCC is not required to provide notice to the public of applications or spills, only to the local government designee, who is also not obligated to provide notice to the public.
 
The working group could not reach a consensus on the issue.
 
Casselberry later brought the idea to the Delta County Planning Commission where, again, no consensus could be reached.
 
While there was no agreement by either advisory group in initial meetings, the county’s PR Officer, Darnell Place-Wise told DCCR in an email this morning, “We are in the process of developing it (the proposal) and will be discussing ideas and options with the Oil & Gas working group, and the Planning Commission, at upcoming meetings this month.”
 
In a July 31 press release Place-Wise wrote, “The oil and gas regulations that Delta County currently has in place are outdated, and need updating; it’s going to take time for the County to update the regulations. In the spring of 2019 the State adopted new oil and gas legislation, which changes how the State will regulate oil and gas. The State has kicked off a multi-year process for updating their regulations; Delta County will work in partnership with the State to update their regulations and in turn, ours. … We are seeking a comprehensive approach to oil and gas regulation that does not duplicate regulatory efforts at the state level, but is focused and targeted to local needs not addressed by the State.”
 
The public will be permitted to speak about the proposal on the Sept. 3, at 10 am. Written comments should be received by Sept. 2 or sooner, to be included in the public meeting packet. Send letters to: Delta County Courthouse, 501 Palmer St, Suite 115, Delta, CO, 81416 or email at planning@deltacounty.com or by fax at 970-87 4-2500.
If you have questions, call the Planning Department at 970-874-2110.

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