Cathy Proctor – Reporter – Denver Business Journal
A “significant majority” of Colorado’s county commissioners assembled at a statewide meeting in early December approved a resolution saying local governments have sufficient authority to regulate, and collaborate with, the state’s oil and gas industry.
That’s according to John “Chip” Taylor, executive director of Colorado Counties Inc. (CCI), a Denver-based nonprofit representing county officials.
The Dec. 2 vote at CCI’s meeting was by voice, and while there was opposition to the resolution, a “significant majority” of commissioners approved the resolution, Taylor said.
The resolution was submitted for a vote by commissioners from 21 of Colorado’s 64 counties, including the Front Range counties of Arapahoe, Douglas, El Paso, and Weld.
The resolution “is a general expression about the fact that we do try to work with industry, we do have some authority, and that the current legal framework gives county governments authority to enter into memorandums of understanding and manage oil and gas development in unincorporated areas,” Taylor said Tuesday.
How much local control city and county officials have over oil and gas operations within their jurisdictions has been a flash point in Colorado politics during the last few years, as rising oil prices have fueled a boom in oil production — mostly from new wells drilled into the Denver-Julesburg Basin, an area that sprawls north and east of Denver into Nebraska and Wyoming.