Board of Commissioners Vote to Amend Local Oil and Gas Regulations

The Board of Commissioners voted 3-1 at public hearing today to adopt proposed regulation amendments for oil and gas facility development in unincorporated Adams County. The revised regulations update oil and gas facility permitting process requirements, as well as incorporate additional performance standards to ensure the protection of public health, safety, welfare, and the environment.

“Since the passage of SB181, counties and cities have authority over oil and gas development, and it is our job to put in place a set of regulations that is both safe for our residents and fair to the industry,” said Board Chair Eva J. Henry. “Our staff worked hard to create a set of regulations that balance the interests of all parties involved.”

The county maintained a two-path regulatory process for approval of new oil and gas development. The administrative approval requires adherence to all criteria and standards, including a new 2,000-foot setback from schools, residences, and environmentally sensitive areas. If an application cannot meet all the criteria, including the setback, the applicant can move forward through a public hearing process that could result in approval of the permit.

The current text amendments will bring the county’s oil and gas facility regulations into alignment with the new Mission Change rule series recently adopted by the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC). The goal consistently remains to establish regulations that allow for reasonable development of oil and gas in unincorporated Adams County while ensuring facilities are sited in appropriate areas and use best practices to protect the health, safety, and welfare of residents.

Key updated regulations include:

  • Setback measurements
    • 2,000-foot setback from the edge of the oil and gas location to a parcel line containing a residence, school, or platted residential development
  • Environmentally Sensitive Area setbacks
    • 2,000-foot setback to streams, lakes, rivers, springs, and wetlands
  • Noise Provisions
    • Continuous noise monitoring within 2,640 feet (1/2 mile) of homes and schools
    • Operators must attenuate noise to the maximum allowable sound level of the adjacent land use at the land use boundary
  • Resident Notice and Community Outreach
    • Adams County requires notice to all landowners and residents within one mile of a proposed Oil and Gas Facility
    • Adams County requires quarterly neighborhood meetings from the time of permit approval
    • Adams County requires operators to identify and engage Disproportionally Impacted Communities within one mile