DENVER– Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper’s decision to file a lawsuit against the city of Longmont, which enacted regulations that conflict with uniform rules for oil and gas drilling, was lauded today by more than 70 elected officials from around the state.
“The proposed Longmont regulations will create a de facto ban on oil and gas production in large segments of their community,” stated the letter signed by officials from nine counties and 10 municipalities.
“If left unchallenged, those regulations open the flood gates for other additional regulatory responses,” they warned. “The resulting chaos would create unclear expectations for local governments, and would discourage future investment in energy development in Colorado.”
“As local officials who actually represent an energy producing area, we share your view of the importance of the energy sector, and we applaud your authentic bipartisan leadership on oil and gas issues,” stated the letter to the governor.
Hickenlooper, who has promoted “all of the above” energy resource development, has demonstrated support for uniform regulations for the oil and gas industry – and opposition to a patchwork of rules adopted by individual jurisdictions.
The governor’s position is “backed by common sense,” declared the letter which was delivered Tuesday at a press conference in the Capitol.
The letter was signed by county commissioners in Adams, Arapahoe, Jefferson, Larimer, Mesa, Moffat, Rio Blanco, Weld and Yuma counties and elected officials from Brighton, Centennial, Craig, Dinosaur, Firestone, Grand Junction, Loveland, Parachute, Rangely and Wray.
Last summer, the Colorado Attorney General’s office filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission in the Boulder County District Court that challenged eight provisions of the regulations adopted by city ofLongmont.
“No possible construction of the disputed provisions of the ordinance can be harmonized with the state regulatory regime,” stated assistant attorney general Jake Matter in the brief.
The city’s far-reaching provisions include a ban on surface drilling in residential areas with one exception and a requirement to monitor water quality for five years after a well is no longer in use.
Longmont is also being sued for instituting a ban on hydraulic fracking, a common horizontal drilling practice used in oil and gas exploration, which was approved by voters in November.
A letter sent previously by elected officials in support of Longmont’s regulations was signed by county commissioners in Boulder, Grand, Park and Summit counties and at least two townships.
Boulder County, however, has continued to allow fracking.
“Love them or hate them, these rules are widely acknowledged to be the most aggressive regulatory framework in the nation,” concluded the letter encouraging Hickenlooper’s continued support for statewide regulations.