Board takes important step for oil and gas industry
Published on May 03, 2021
Clarity and consistency for Weld County’s oil and gas industry were among the benefits championed by the Weld County Board of Commissioners last Wednesday as it unanimously approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC). The MOU comes after many months of discussions between both entities and seeks to provide a more streamlined permitting process for oil and gas operators in the state’s leading energy producing county.
“I believe this is a key step for both governmental agencies,” said Jason Maxey, Director of Weld County’s Oil and Gas Energy Department. “Oil and gas development is important to Weld County, to our farmers, ranchers and school districts and to our communities who depend on the tax revenue or [economic benefits] the industry brings. I’m hopeful that this MOU provides additional certainty for oil and gas operators and through this agreement we’ll see increased permitting activity and the development of oil and gas resources in the county.”
The MOU largely outlines a deeper effort by the COGCC and Weld County to provide permit applicants with a better understanding of how Weld County’s 1041 Weld County Oil and Gas Location Assessment (WOGLA) process and the COGCC’s Oil and Gas Development Plan (OGDP) will complement each other to provide a quicker, more efficient permitting process moving forward. The MOU aligns and streamlines one permitting process between the state and Weld County’s Oil and Gas Energy Department.
The new MOU follows a two-year period which saw the COGCC work through its rulemaking process concerning oil and gas production in the state following SB-19-181 being signed into law on April 16, 2019. During that period, changes to the rules established by the COGCC caused delays for those seeking permits. Now that formal rules have been adopted by the COGCC as of January 15, 2021, Maxey and the commissioners believe the MOU provides a more definitive, formal and beneficial permitting process.
The MOU was also approved by the COGCC last Wednesday afternoon.
Comments from the board:
Commissioner Chair Steve Moreno – “Oil and gas is a huge economic driver in Weld County and also provides many jobs for families in the industry. As the state’s leader in oil and gas production, it’s important that we have processes in place that protect our residents while still maintaining local control of our land use process concerning oil and gas. To partner with the state in our permitting process speaks to how far we’ve come since Senate Bill 181 was passed. This effort speaks to the hard work of staff, our county attorney and previous board members, and I’m pleased with the MOU.”
Commissioner Pro-Tem Scott James – “Anything we can do to create predictability and certainty in oil and gas permitting is a plus for both operators and landowners. This agreement does both of those things. It also shows that we can preserve health, safety and welfare while continuing to govern our land use process.”
Commissioner Lori Saine – “This agreement helps solidify rulemaking and planning as well as the trust and confidence of those in the industry. This is really earning Weld County a place as the expert in oil and gas permitting and land use. This is going to benefit not only our Weld County citizens but all of the citizens in the state.”
Commissioner Mike Freeman – “The state realizes Weld County knows what it is doing when it comes to our permitting process. This agreement exemplifies the belief that the state has in Weld County to protect the health and welfare of our citizens. This has been a very long process and a lot of work, but at the end of the day it’s a huge benefit to the energy industry, our economy and to the citizens of Weld County.”
Commissioner Perry Buck – “This agreement is big for Weld County as it provides oil and gas operators certainty and assurance in our permitting process as well as shows we’re quite capable of establishing guidelines that protect health, safety and welfare of our residents, provide energy exploration opportunities and strengthen Weld County’s economy.”