Oil & Gas Operations
The Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) governs the permitting and regulation of oil and gas wells throughout the state according to the Oil and Gas Conservation Act. Municipalities such as the Town of Erie have limited authority when it comes to the oversight of oil and gas operations within its boundaries. A 2002 Colorado State Court of Appeals decision affirmed an earlier judgment which defines to what extent a local jurisdiction may regulate drilling operations within its boundaries. Please select this link: State Court of Appeals Decision to review the court's ruling.
Erie First Municipality in State to Adopt Best Management Practices
8/28/2012 During Tuesday night’s meeting, the Board of Trustees approved Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) with EnCana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc. and Anadarko Petroleum Corporation wherein the operators have agreed to address the Town’s concerns regarding public health and safety impacts. The MOUs are the first agreements in Colorado that include best management practices that supplement and are in addition to Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) rules and regulations. Mathew Lepore, the new Director of the COGCC has assured the Town that the terms of the MOUs will be included as a condition of permit approval and will be enforced by the State. In an email sent to the Lepore said:
“…best management practices (BMPs) contained in a memorandum of understanding between the Town of Erie and an oil and gas operator can be incorporated into a Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) permit to drill as enforceable conditions of the permit. The BMPs would need to be included with the operator’s Application for Permit to Drill (From 2) or its Oil and Gas Location Assessment (Form 2A). COGCC would then issue the permit subject to compliance with the BMPs, and would enforce alleged non-compliance with the BMPs under the Commission’s Rules of Practice and Procedure and applicable statutory authority.”
As part of the conditions of the MOUs, operators shall be required to:
- Maximize equipment and wellhead setbacks from occupied buildings and residences to the extent feasible and practicable, as determined by (Operator).
- Prior to commencement of any new drilling or completion operations, provide notification to landowners within one-half (1/2) mile of the planned location, as that location is reflected on (Operator’s) Form 2A filed with the COGCC (“Oil and Gas Location”).
- Prior to commencement of any new drilling or completion operations, provide to an Erie designated staff member the following for the Oil and Gas Location for informational purposes only, which (Operator) may revise from time to time during operations:
(a) a summary of planned operations, including identified access points and operational timeline, for posting to a local community information web-page;
(b) a site plan for site preparation, mobilization and demobilization;
(c) a plan for interim reclamation and revegetation of the site and final reclamation of the site;
(d) a plan for noise, light and dust mitigation, to the extent feasible and where applicable;
(e) a traffic management plan; and
(f) updates of this information if any plans change during operations.
- Utilize steel-rim berms around tanks and separators instead of sand or soil berms, unless requested otherwise by surface owner or because of operational reasons.
- Utilize closed-loop systems for drilling and completion operations to minimize the need for earthen pits.
- Utilize multistage pressure separation in conjunction with a vapor recovery unit (VRU) for new wells drilled. (Operator) may remove the VRU system at such time (Operator) determines that the VRU system is no longer necessary due to reduced emission recoveries and/or efficiencies, but no earlier than one (1) year after the new well is drilled.
The effective date of the MOUs coincides with the expiration of the temporary moratorium on the acceptance of oil & gas permits. The moratorium expires on September 3, 2012.
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