2:36pm

Thu August 1, 2013
Oil and Gas

Colorado Oil & Gas Industry Has New Setback Rules

Starting August 1 oil and gas companies are required to establish a larger 500-foot buffer between new wells and homes.

The move replaces a previous 350-foot setback for urban areas and a 150-foot requirement for rural ones.

“It’s a huge step forward. The setback rules are among the strongest in the country. And while we pushed industry further [than] they wanted to go, and the conservation community would have liked us to go a little further, we think it was a great compromise that left us with very robust rules,” said Ginny Brannon, assistant director for Water and Energy at the Colorado Department of Natural Resources.

The rules were opposed by both the oil and gas industry and environmentalists—who wanted greater setbacks. It also allows for operators to apply for exemptions—something that Weld County Commissioner Sean Conway says is important in agricultural areas.

"The setback rules are among the strongest in the country."

“What I want to make sure of moving forward is we have an open dialogue with the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission in those rare cases—and they will be rare cases—where those setback rules could have an impact—and negative impact—on agricultural production in this county, we are able to work those out.”

The new law also requires companies to seek approval from the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission when drilling within 1,000 feet of high occupancy buildings like schools or nursing homes.