Tuesday, December 20, 2011

City Council approves oil and gas moratorium ordinance on first reading

Creates a 30-day window for industry dialogue prior to final decision on long-term moratorium

COMMERCE CITY, COLO. – The Commerce City council approved an ordinance on first reading tonight supporting a moratorium on oil and gas activities in an 8-0 vote, following public testimony from residents, environmental interests, businesses, and the oil and gas industry. Instead of approving an emergency ordinance, city council’s first reading vote meets the 30-day “timeout” request by industry and the state, allowing for dialogue prior to the city council’s final decision (or second reading vote) on a long-term moratorium.

“City Council’s decision allows Commerce City assess how best to balance necessary oil and gas development with the growth of our city,” said Mayor Pro Tem Dominick Moreno. “We look forward to working with all interested parties to provide thoughtful discussion and increase awareness and education on this important topic.”

The ordinance is for any surface or subsurface use for the conduct of any oil and gas operations that include hydraulic fracturing or drilling activities within the city limits. The moratorium would allow the city to complete a comprehensive study of the impacts of oil and gas development, acknowledging the city’s regulatory limitations on the topic.

City Council also directed the city to create an oil and gas land use review committee, comprised of council members, industry, residents, interest groups and staff. The purpose of the committee will be to assess risks, study impacts of uses described and determine if and what changes to the city’s land use development code are needed.

For more information on oil and gas operations within the city, visit www.c3gov.com/oilgas. The site also includes a weekly staff activity update, including interaction with state and county officials.

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