WELD COUNTY, CO — The efforts of the Board of County Commissioners to exercise local control over mineral resources in unincorporated Weld County have been further realized as the Weld County Oil and Gas Energy Department (OGED) officially opens for business today. The department is located at 1301 N. 17th Ave. in Greeley.
“Today is a big day for Weld County,” Weld County Commissioner Chair Barbara Kirkmeyer said. “This new department will provide clarity for the energy industry when it comes to permitting and serve as a central location for residents who have questions for the energy industry or want to get more information about drilling activity in Weld County.”
Approved by the board on July 8, the OGED will be responsible for permitting, regulating and enforcing land use regulations related to oil and gas operations for drilling sites located in unincorporated Weld County. The department will be staffed with 12 employees. Weld County has more than 21,000 wells and represents 88 percent of the state’s oil production and 36 percent of its gas production.
The regulations the department will enforce were established during a three-reading process which made amendments to Chapter 8: Public Works, Chapter 12: Licensing, Chapter 23: Zoning and Chapter 21: Areas and Activities of State Interest and established the county’s 1041 process. The changes, approved July 22, dealt largely with the procedures for obtaining a 1041 Weld County Oil and Gas Location Assessment (WOGLA) permit. Among the changes, the county has implemented a building unit setback of 500 feet, meaning there can be no drilling within 500 feet from any building unit in unincorporated Weld County. However, there are options for the oil and gas industry to obtain a waiver from those requirements provided that all WOGLA requirements have been followed along with best management practices to protect public health, safety and welfare. A waiver can also be granted to a landowner if they can show that a proposed drilling location would hinder the ability to perform agricultural needs such as irrigating, moving livestock, etc.
Zoning changes approved in Chapter 23 involved moving the WOGLA process to Chapter 21, effectively placing responsibility for the process under the director of the OGED. Chapter 8 code changes involved housekeeping measures related to granting grading permits and establishing road access requirements.
More information about the OGED can be found by visiting, https://www.weldgov.com/departments/oil_and_gas_energy.
How we got here
Since Senate Bill 181’s passage in April, the Board of Commissioners has taken many steps to establish local control over mineral resources in unincorporated Weld County — a delegation given to counties as part of the new legislation.
06/10/19: Accepted 1041 Authority.
06/10/19, 07/01/19, 07/22/19 – 1041 amendments to the Weld County Code pass unanimously at each reading.
07/08/19 – Approved a resolution to create the Oil and Gas Energy Department (OGED); named Jason Maxey as director.
08/05/19 – The OGED is open for business.
“The steps we’ve taken show we know what’s best for Weld County when it comes to oil and gas development,” Weld County Commissioner Pro-Tem Mike Freeman said. “These measures show we are serious about protecting both public safety and a resource critical to Weld County and Colorado.”
Weld County Communications Director
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