This past week, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission has started holding meetings to discuss changing the rules about the distance of wells from homes, schools ,and hospitals. The current regulations call for wells to be at least 150 feet away from rural buildings and 350 feet away from high-density areas. The new rules would call for at least 200 feet away from homes and 750 feet away from high-density buildings. Companies would still be able to drill within 750 feet but it would require approval from the Commission.
While many are hailing the new proposed regulations, some organizations believe the new regulations will only increase truck traffic, fuel consumption and emissions, while also requiring longer drilling times. The Colorado Farm Bureau and the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association are also concerned that having these increased setbacks from buildings will mean that wells will now be in the middle of farmland.
There are also still many environmentalists that believe the rules aren’t doing enough to protect the water quality of local residents. These changes would include a small water sampling requirement intended to shield groundwater from contamination. However, it only requires companies to test two water samples from the local area. These changes don’t seem to be doing enough in light of the fact that a week ago the city of Longmont, which was being sued by the state over their strict fracking regulations in July, passed a complete ban on fracking.
For more information on the proposed regulations visit the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission at http://cogcc.state.co.us/.