The Longmont City Council voted 4-3 Tuesday to put its new oil and gas rules on hold. That was followed by a 6-1 “first reading” vote early Wednesday to extend its moratorium on new drilling permits by 45 days.
The action won praise from the state’s oil and gas trade association.
Tisha Schuller, President & CEO of the Colorado Oil & Gas Association, said that he immdediately after the meeting and decision, her organization reached out to both Longmont staff and the Longmont operator to begin collaboration. “Our door has been open and we will continue to make engagement and negotiation our top priority,” she said.
“Fortunately, in Colorado, every aspect of drilling is regulated by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC), the state agency with technical knowledge of Colorado’s geological basins. Colorado is recognized as having some of the toughest and most comprehensive rules in the country.
Mike King, executive director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, hinted in a letter to the city council that a lawsuit could be in the works if Longmont proceeded with its new rules, the first update of the city’s oil and gas regulations since 2000.
“I intend to consult with my staff, the COGCC (Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission), the Colorado Attorney General’s Office and the Governor’s Office on our legal options,” King wrote to the council.
COGA’s Schuller added, “We thank the City Council for demonstrating their pragmatic approach to protecting city interests by prioritizing working through the state process. We look forward to working with the city in the spirit of collaboration demonstrated in their vote last night.”