Monday, February 27, 2012

City Council continues vote on oil and gas moratorium for 60 days

Staff DIRECTED to draft regulations, Memorandum of Understanding for consideration

COMMERCE CITY, COLO. – Tonight, the City Council of Commerce City unanimously voted to continue Ordinance 1880 for another 60 days. If adopted, the ordinance would have imposed a six-month moratorium on any surface or subsurface use for the conduct of any oil and gas operations that include hydraulic fracturing or drilling activities within the city limits.

City Council also directed staff to propose revisions to the city’s land use development code as well as a draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for council’s consideration.

“These ordinances and agreements will allow Commerce City to protect the health, safety and welfare of its residents by governing how oil and gas activities occur within the city,” said Mayor Sean Ford. “While the city recognizes its regulatory limitations; drafting rules that outline such things as appropriate signage, noise levels, traffic, screening, setbacks and safety considerations will help address the concerns raised by our constituents.”

Council further directed staff to seek input from the public on these documents through existing communication channels, such as meetings, city newsletter and website prior to bringing items to the city’s planning commission and city council for final approval.

City Council initially approved Ordinance 1880 on first reading Dec. 19, 2011. This vote met the 30-day “timeout” requested by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC), allowing for dialogue prior to the city council’s final decision (or second reading vote) on a long-term moratorium.

The second reading of Ordinance 1880 on Jan. 23 was continued based on public testimony from residents as well as a proposal from Hilcorp Energy, which agreed to a voluntary 30-day moratorium on hydraulic fracturing and drilling operations within the city.

At the Dec. 19 meeting, City Council created the Oil and Gas Land Use Review Committee comprised of residents, industry representatives, interest groups and council members. This group has met six times over the last 60 days to learn more about hydraulic fracturing as well as identify potential changes to the city’s land use code and concepts for a Memorandum of Understanding with COGCC. City Council decided to end the work of this committee at this time, although interested stakeholders can provide input on draft regulations and agreements through the public process.

For additional information on oil and gas operations within Commerce City, please visit