September 3, 2019 / 10:41 PM / 15 days ago

Colorado county first in state to tighten oil and gas regulations

DENVER (Reuters) - Adams County on Tuesday became the first in Colorado to adopt new oil and gas regulations since the state passed a law that bolstered local control over fossil fuel development.

New oil and gas development must not occur closer than 1,000 feet from occupied buildings and residences, double the current limit, commissioners ruled unanimously on Tuesday. Operators can request exemptions, which would require a public hearing.

Colorado Governor Jared Polis, a Democrat, in April signed Senate Bill 181 into law, allowing communities greater control over oil and gas activities. The law also placed a priority on public safety over oil and gas development.

The Colorado Oil and Gas Association (COGA) called Adams County’s new regulations “unreasonable” and said they would hurt the more than 5,000 families there that depend on oil and gas development.

Last year the county, which is northeast of Denver, produced 3.6 million barrels of oil, about 2.23% of the 157.8 million barrels produced in nearby Weld County, according to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC).

Privately owned Great Western Petroleum is the largest producer in Adams County, with output totaling 1.28 million barrels of oil for the first five months of this year.

Extraction Oil and Gas, Petroshare Corp and Burlington Resources Oil and Gas are also leading producers in the county, according to COGCC data.

Reporting by Liz Hampton; Editing by Leslie Adler

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