Longmont City Council took a huge, and to some critics, risky step yesterday when it approved a new set of oil and gas regulations, including a restriction on drilling in residential zones.
That restriction survived a 4-3 City Council vote Tuesday night, shortly before the rules as a whole were adopted 5-2. Councilwomen Katie Witt and Bonnie Finley had pushed for the residential restriction to be eliminated, saying the city would be sued and would lose and that few if any residential areas were in danger.
The new regulations are the first update of Longmont’s oil and gas rules in more than a decade. The key component of the multiple rules forbids drilling in a residential zone, but does allow a driller to ask for an exception if that would make it impossible to access their mineral rights.
The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and the trade group, Colorado Oil and Gas Association, have voiced their opposition to local regulations being added on top of state regulations, with the COGCC predicting the new regulations will be struck down in court.