O&G watchdog asks regulators to remove County’s comment letter

JOANN KALENAK/SENIOR BLOGGER, DCCR — Today, local oil and gas activist organization, Citizens for a Healthy Community, Executive Director Natasha Léger, asked the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) to remove a comment letter submitted by Commissioner Wendell Koontz from the record and consideration at an upcoming hearing.

Léger makes this request just one week before the COGCC is expected to hear a petition for rulemaking to adopt rules to evaluate and address cumulative air impacts caused by oil and gas development. Commissioner Koontz’s comment letter, sent on behalf of Delta County Commissioners, dated Nov. 30, 2022 but submitted Dec. 5, 2022, rejects the rulemaking requests and comes as a surprise since discussion on the topic was not held in a public meeting before the Board of County Commissioners. It’s for this reason that Léger has asked that the letter be removed calling it “an invalid action and in violation of Colorado’s Open Meeting Law.”

DCCR contacted Commissioner Koontz about the lack of public participation in the decision to put Delta County on record in opposite of the petition. Koontz told DCCR that cumulative impacts is consistent with the Master Plan whose development had multiple public hearings. He also referred to the 23-member Western and Rural Local Government Coalition (WRLC), of which Delta County is a member, saying public meetings were held although notice of such meetings has not been offered.