A recent analysis by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (“COGCC”) shows that increasing the current regulatory setback of 500 feet to the 2500-foot setback proposed in Initiative # 97 would prevent oil and gas development on 85% of the non-federal land surface in the state.
The initiative is more expansive than the one proposed in 2016 (Initiative # 78). Language in Initiative # 97, which is now being circulated for signatures, would require 2500-foot buffers not only from “occupied structures” but also from “vulnerable areas” defined to include lakes, rivers, perennial or intermittent streams, and creeks.
Federal lands (which comprise 36% of the land surface – mostly in western Colorado) would be exempt. Lands east of the mountains would be the most impacted. For example, 78% of the land in Weld County would be inaccessible.
The COGCC analysis, copy of the language for Initiative # 97, and maps showing the potential areal impact of the 2500-foot buffers are available at the COGCC website: http://bit.ly/COGCC_2018
This post was drafted by John Watson, an attorney in the Denver, CO office of Spencer Fane LLP. For more information, visit spencerfane.com.