Aurora informally approves draft oil and gas ordinance

anadarkohydraulicfracturingapril2011

From the Aurora Sentinel (Sara Castellanos):

Council members at the meeting informally approved a draft ordinance regulating oil and gas development amidst growing tensions from the community about the environmental impacts of fracking. City staff members in the coming weeks are slated to meet with major oil and gas developers to discuss the proposed draft, and council members will have to formally vote on the draft at a later date. The draft ordinance puts stricter regulations on oil and gas developers than the city’s current ordinance, but concerned residents still say council should have done more…

Aurora’s proposed regulations include requiring oil and gas companies to obtain a conditional use permit if they are considering drilling within 1,000 feet from a residential subdivision. Aurora’s current ordinance allows drilling in all zone districts. “This is a recognition that as you get closer to residential (areas) there may be impacts,” said Jim Sayre, manager of zoning and development review for the city. “There may be light, glare, traffic, vibration, noise and things we do look at with industrial activity.”[…]

The city’s draft also requires the use of best industry practices for water quality monitoring, “green” fracturing fluids and closed-loop systems. Another tenet of the draft requires traffic impact studies and haul routes…

The draft regulations would also require an emergency response plan to deal with any hazardous spills, which current ordinances do not require.

Meanwhile, Commerce City has delayed their ordinance again. Here’s a report from Bruce Finley writing for The Denver Post. From the article:

The City Council on Monday temporarily shelved a six-month moratorium on all oil and gas drilling in the city — including the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” — to allow for more talks with oil and gas interests. The council unanimously voted Monday night to hold off on a moratorium for at least 60 days while city officials continued work on an agreement that could lead to fracking regulation. Council members say the negotiations could reap broader and more effective standards than a simple ban.

More oil and gas coverage here and here.

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