LONGMONT — Longmont has 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.
“Should we try to go through the brick wall? I say no,” said Witt, who was also joined by Councilman Gabe Santos in voting to drop the limit. “It’s not a ditch I want to die in.”
But Councilman Brian Bagley called the restriction the “heart and soul” of the new regulations, while others said it was part of the city’s power to zone. If so few areas are affected, Councilman Alex Sammoury asked, why would the state or the industry want to sue at all?
Sammoury also dryly thanked the Colorado Oil and Gas Association for the phone calls he said several residents received last week, saying that he was allied with the anti-fracking movement. Not only did several of those calls go to his friends, he said, but one went to his wife.