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County creates Oil & Gas Department

Posted on 07/08/2019
County creates Oil & Gas DepartmentBy unanimous approval of the resolution during today’s board meeting, the Weld County Commissioners solidified their commitment of preserving oil and gas production in the county.

“This resolution sets in motion the next step toward preserving our economy and providing stability for our residents and the oil and gas industry,” said Commissioner Chair Barbara Kirkmeyer. “Today is the day Weld County officially ‘walks the walk’.”

With more than 21,180 wells, oil production in Weld County represents 88% of the state’s total production; gas production represents 34% of the state’s total. Approximately 59% of Weld’s total assessed value comes from oil and gas production.

“Establishing this department is vital for the economic health of our county,” said Commissioner Pro Tem Mike Freeman. “For years, we as a county, along with our residents and the industry, have developed a process that has worked well for the needs of our community. It’s responsive, adaptable and takes into consideration our other vital industry – agriculture. We understand what works for Weld County.”

Jason Maxey, who was hired in 2018 as the county’s Oil and Gas Specialist and Local Government Designee, will oversee the department, which will initially employ up to 12 staff members including a director, an oil and gas planner, permitting and enforcement officers, a hearing officer, and office techs as well as co-locating public works employees, who work on access permits and storm drainage, and public health and environment employees, who will monitor air quality and other environmental factors to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of the environment and Weld County residents.

“This department will be responsible for permitting, regulating and enforcing surface and air oil-and-gas operations for drilling sites located in unincorporated areas of Weld County,” said Commissioner Steve Moreno. “As we have said before, we are ready to fully accept the local control provision given to us by SB-181.”

By design, the department will set a fee and fine schedule which will mitigate the financial impact to the county’s overall budget and thereby to Weld County taxpayers.

“The board has a long history of good stewardship with taxpayer dollars,” said Commissioner Sean Conway. “This is no exception. We are making an investment in our county by creating this department to ensure Weld County remains a great place to live, work and play.”

Job openings for the department will be posted on https://www.governmentjobs.com/careers/weld as the county prepares to officially open the department and conduct business starting August 5.

“The great thing about county government is the ability to be proactive and work in an expedient manner,” said Commissioner Scott James. “We know we are already facing economic losses as a county due to the delay of permit approvals by the COGCC since January. They haven’t even begun to make a dent in their rule making and procedures. Weld County, on the other hand, is ready to do business.”