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Board accepts 1041 authority

Posted on 06/10/2019
Board accepts 1041 authority

With more than 100 people in attendance, the Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution designating all unincorporated areas of Weld County as under the purview of county government with regard to mineral resources, including oil and gas development. Today’s action officially accepts the local control SB 19-181 was touting to bring to local government agencies.

Public comment during today’s hearing was overwhelming in support of the board’s action with approximately 22 of the 28 public commenters speaking in favor of the Board’s resolution, including elected officials from other Weld County municipalities and a Logan County Commissioner.

Comments from the board:

Commissioner Chair Barbara Kirkmeyer: “Senate Bill 181 delegated state authority to local governments, and according to Governor Polis that is an opt in. Our land use powers are not an opt in; our land use powers are our authority and our responsibility to ensure we pass regulations that meet the needs of each and every single land owner and individual that lives in this county. Senate Bill 181 took away a pre-emption that was there, delegated to us additional authority and gave us additional land-use powers. As a county commissioner, I’m going to exercise that land-use authority as much as I possibly can to provide regulatory stability for the energy industry, protect the interests of our Weld County property owners, and, most importantly, provide security to the women and men who work in the energy industry.”

Commissioner Pro-Tem Mike Freeman: “The oil and gas industry in Weld County is extremely important, but what we fail to recognize sometimes is how important agriculture is in Weld County and what a great partnership oil and gas has with agriculture. Part of the reason agriculture is as successful as it is in Weld County is because of oil and gas industry. We also need to remember our kids. K-12 education is what gets impacted the most when we start to see revenue decrease in the oil and gas industry. As we go forward and continue to work with this, I realize it’s going to be a difficult challenge, but believe me you have five county commissioners dedicated to making this happen. And we will be successful in providing certainty and stability for the oil and gas industry.”

Commissioner Sean Conway: “This is not a knee-jerk reaction. This board has spent months going through this process to put this together. All we are doing is exercising our 1041 authority, which was given to us by Senate Bill 181. Other communities may see this in a different fashion. Other counties may see this in a different fashion. But I know other counties and municipalities are looking for our leadership and our guidance.”

Commissioner Scott James:
“We are simply doing what Senate Bill 181 allows us to do. We are claiming our 1041 authority to site land use for oil and gas. I am in agreement with Governor Polis in the fact that the best government is the government that is closest to home, and therefore this government, which is the closest to your homes, will take that authority and will continue to support the economic vitality of Weld County. To a deeper extent, we are helping Governor Polis keep his word. Governor Polis sat Commissioners Freeman, Kirkmeyer and I down in his office, looked us dead in the eye and said, ‘How you do business in Weld County will not change.’ You’re right Governor Polis, because the actions we take today ensure it will not change.”

Commissioner Steve Moreno: “This is not an R or a D issue. This is the right thing to do, and we are doing this for the people of this county and for the people of the state of Colorado. We do care very deeply about the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of this county, and I fully support this resolution.”

In addition to approving the regulation, the board approved on first reading amendments to Chapter 8 Public Works, Chapter 21 Areas of State Interest and Chapter 23 Zoning which was the first step in establishing the county’s 1041 process as it relates to oil and gas regulations.

In short, the amendments entail some housekeeping in Chapter 8 (Public Works, moving road access permits from Chapter 12 to Chapter 8), and in Chapter 23 (Planning; moving the Weld County Oil and Gas Location Assessment (WOGLA) from Chapter 23 to 21). Chapter 21 – Areas of State Interest is where the regulations creating the new 1041 process for the county will be outlined as this is the chapter that deals with 1041 authority.

The second reading for each of these ordinances is July 1. The third readings will be held on July 22. All readings will be held at 9 a.m. in the Weld County Administration Building, located at 1150 O Street in Greeley.