Oil and Gas Complaints and Concerns
For emergencies, call 9-1-1.
The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) is charged with regulating the development of Colorado's oil and gas natural resources in a manner consistent with the protection of public health, safety and welfare. Complaints related to oil and gas development can be made through the COGCC website.
If you have concerns about the health impacts related to oil and gas operations, the Colorado Department of Health and Environment (CDPHE) has an Oil and Gas Health Information and Response Line. Health concerns can be submitted through the CDPHE website, or call 303-389-1687.
Complaints or concerns about about the Prospect Energy sites in Northeast Fort Collins can also be communicated directly to the operator contact, Ward Giltmer, at 303-489-8773.
General environmental or health concerns can be communicated to the City of Fort Collins through Access Fort Collins.
Proposed Land Use Code Changes
The City is seeking input on potential changes in regulations related to new development near existing oil and gas operations. Currently, the City’s Land Use Code requires a buffer of 350 feet between all new residential development and both oil and gas operations (including both active and abandoned wells).
Based on community outreach conducted between December 2017 and February 2018, staff has revised the initially proposed code changes. Staff has conducted outreach to property owners near oil and gas facilities, the general public, and relevant advisory boards and commissions. The following Land Use Code changes are currently proposed:
- Increase the buffer between new development and existing oil and gas operations from 350 feet to 500 feet. This would apply to both active and permanently abandoned wells.
- Increase the buffer between “High Occupancy Uses” and existing oil and gas operations from 350 feet to 1,000 feet. High Occupancy Uses include schools, hospitals, nursing homes, correctional facilities and daycare centers.
- Allow a decision-maker to consider a reduced setback around plugged and abandoned wells if additional investigation, soil sampling and groundwater testing are completed and accepted by the City. The minimum setback that could be obtained would be 150 feet from the plugged well.
- Require an additional method of notification to future property owners about the presence of nearby oil and gas operations.
City Council will consider adoption of the proposed code changes at the August 21 City Council Regular Meeting. The Council packet will be posted in advance on the city's agenda page.
- City Council Regular Meeting (6:00 pm, 300 Laporte, City Council Chambers) – August 21
For more information, please contact Rebecca Everette, Development Review Manager, at 970-416-2625 or cmV2ZXJldHRlQGZjZ292LmNvbQ==.
NOTE: These proposed code changes do not address requirements related to oil and gas flowlines and pipelines. The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) recently updated its rules related to flowline registration, operations, testing and leak detection. More information on the rulemaking process and final rules are available here: http://cogcc.state.co.us/reg.html#/rules/flowlinerulemaking.
Fort Collins Colorado Supreme Court Decision
The City Attorney’s office on May 6, 2016 issued a brief explanation of the impact of the Colorado Supreme Court’s decisions issued Monday rejecting Fort Collins’ five-year moratorium and Longmont’s ban on hydraulic fracturing.
The City has no further obligation under the moratorium in light of the Court’s action, meaning no City Council or other action is required. The City Attorney’s office is working with City staff to evaluate possible next steps for City action regarding oil and gas operations.
“There remains some room for the City to regulate oil and gas operations in the City, and we are reviewing the options for those regulations,” said City Attorney Carrie Daggett.
Key aspects of the Supreme Court’s decisions include:
- The Court held that City’s moratorium and Longmont’s ban are both preempted by the state’s laws regulating oil and gas operations, and upheld the District Courts’ previous invalidation of the moratorium and ban.
- The Court rejected, however, COGA’s argument that the moratorium and ban were “impliedly preempted” by state law.
- The Court instead ruled that the moratorium and ban are preempted by state law because they are in “operational conflict” with state law.
- This leaves open the future possibility for the home rule municipalities to regulate other aspects of oil and gas operations.
- The Court criticized the moratorium’s five-year duration as being too long and viewed it as changing, rather than preserving, the status quo, citing the widespread use of fracking techniques in oil and gas operations throughout Colorado.
- The Court also observed that moratoria can be appropriate land-use tools if used as “interim measures that are, by their very nature, of limited duration and are designed to maintain the status quo pending study and governmental decision making.”
Oil and gas development in Fort Collins is regulated by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC). Information related to activity within the Fort Collins Growth Management Area (GMA) is tracked here, but also available in more detail on the COGCC website.
Oil and Gas Operations In the City of Fort Collins
Currently, Prospect Energy is the only oil and gas operator within Fort Collins city limits. The Prospect Energy wells are located in northeast Fort Collins, in an oil field that was discovered in 1924. The wells predominantly produce oil, which requires water injection to artificially bring the oil to the surface (i.e., "dead oil"). The product in associated flow lines has been characterized as containing approximately 97% water, 3% oil, and very little gas, as opposed to production wells in Weld County which primarily produce gas.
A map of wells and well status is available from the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) website. Operations in Fort Collins are also summarized in a January 2018 Council memo.
On May 2, 2017, the COGCC issued a Notice to Operators statewide requiring that all existing flowlines and pipelines located within 1,000 feet of a building unit or residence be inspected by the operator by May 31. This requirement applied to all flowlines within Fort Collins city limits and the City's Growth Management Area (GMA). These inspections were required by the COGCC and not conducted by the City of Fort Collins.
2017 Air Quality Technical Session
The City's Air Quality Advisory Board and Natural Resources Advisory Board, and County's Environmental and Science Advisory Board, hosted an air quality technical session on November 15, 2017. Discussed were an air quality monitoring assessment conducted using data collected during the 2014 Front Range Air Pollution and Photochemistry Experiment (FRAPPE), and new oil and gas health information and response resources available from the Colorado Department of Health and Environment (CDPHE).
2017 Well Workover Emission Rate Characterization
Report summarizing air emissions based on data collected by Colorado State University during a well workover that occurred in the Fort Collins oil and gas field in April and May of 2017.