After Latest Drilling Bid Revelation, Lafayette Says It Will Punt Vote on New Oil and Gas Regulations, for Now
Lafayette’s City Council will delay a vote on its proposed oil and gas regulatory overhaul, an initiative that has drawn the ire of local anti-oil and gas activists and even spurred protests within city hall chambers last month, until at least after the November election, Mayor Christine Berg said Tuesday.
With Extraction Oil and Gas subsidiary 8 North LLC’s revelation late last month that its large-scale drilling plans for the region will narrowly avoid Lafayette land, Berg said the urgency for an update to its decades-old energy regulations has somewhat subsided.
The company said that the drilling and spacing order it originally filed in September aimed at the 1,280-acre area between Arapahoe and Baseline roads in the Lafayette-Erie are, would actually be contained to a more precise area: two wells — a northern and southern unit — that would sit in Weld County and Erie, respectively. The location places the well sites just outside of Lafayette’s regulatory authority.
Berg said that while the drilling locations are problematic, the news that drilling would not — at least momentarily — be in city limits, gives leaders a chance to hit pause and watch how similar issues play out at the state level. She cited ballot initiative #97, which would require that oil and gas development be a minimum of 2,500 feet away from “occupied structures.”
City Council also directed Lafayette attorney David Williamson to draft a resolution in support of the aforementioned initiative, similar to one Boulder County Commissioners approved last week .
The success or failure of that initiative, as well as a host of similar drilling measures called up at the state level, could “advise us on what we need to do next.”
The city originally said it would resume discussions on the proposed code revamping — which were interrupted last month by protestors shouting “no drills, no pipelines!” until leaders were eventually forced to adjourn without a decision — during its August meeting. The vote’s delay will likely appease anti-drilling residents and activists, who have argued that any attempts to regulate oil and gas equates to doing business with the industry.
If eventually approved, the new rules would include mapping flow lines throughout the city, setback requirements, community engagement, and ground- and air-pollution mitigation.
It would also bar a pipeline from being closer than 150 feet to a residential, commercial or industrial building, or “a place of public assembly.”
“Lafayette was a historic coal mining community, but we have transitioned into a progressive city that is moving away from fossil fuels,” Berg said in a release last month. “We have not had an oil and gas well drilled in Lafayette for 25 years and our trajectory continues to point towards solar resources and environmental sustainability.”
Anthony Hahn: 303-473-1422, email@example.com or twitter.com/_anthonyhahn