Adams County drilling rules unnecessary

Posted 8/28/19

There’s permitting freeze on energy development in Adams County today. The freeze is needed, officials say, to write new local regulations in reaction to Senate Bill 181, which Governor Polis …

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Adams County drilling rules unnecessary

Posted

There’s permitting freeze on energy development in Adams County today. The freeze is needed, officials say, to write new local regulations in reaction to Senate Bill 181, which Governor Polis approved four months ago.

But the debate over these regulations has been wrongly presented as a choice between two all-or-nothing options.

Oil and natural gas firms are told they must accept these regulations to have the permitting freeze lifted. If they don’t support the regulations, the freeze stays in place, with no permits issued at all.

This is a false dilemma, however. There is a middle way.

First, Adams County can acknowledge the current regulations, while well-intentioned, need additional work.

Industry experts have warned of unintended consequences. Instead of enforcing the highest standards, the regulations may tie everything up in knots, having the same effect as a ban.

As work continues on these regulations, county commissioners can end the freeze on oil and gas permitting, because there are other ways to maintain local control.

Officials can use operator agreements to impose high standards on drilling projects. They can leverage the state’s new permitting process which strongly emphasizes health and safety. Say what you like about the Polis administration, but they are not going to rush through any permits over local objections.

I urge county officials to take the middle way. The energy workers of Adams County want the same things you do: Good jobs and a safe environment. But the details of how you get there really matter.

Nick Kliebenstein,

Broomfield

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