Durango passes ordinance on gas wells | SummitDaily.com

Durango passes ordinance on gas wells

DURANGO – In a region dotted by thousands of wells, the city has adopted its first ordinance to regulate gas-well operations within city limits.There is currently one well in the city, but proposed annexations could mean as many as 10 in the future.Mark Williams, a city planner who drafted the ordinance with input from residents and industry experts, said the ordinance that was passed this past week is based on a similar ordinance in Greeley. That city has more than 300 wells within its limits.Williams said the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission oversees most operations in the state. “But as a home rule city, we do have a lot of authority to protect health and welfare,” Williams said.Notable measures to protect safety include a setback of 350 feet for any well in relation to an existing structure, and the notification of neighbors before flaring – the burnoff of excess gas from well heads during drilling, Williams said.Josh Joswick, the staff organizer for oil and gas issues with the San Juan Citizens Alliance, applauded planners for being proactive.Christi Zeller, executive director for the nonprofit La Plata Energy Council, said the gas industry also supports the ordinance.”This is a very proactive thing the city did. We’ve been working with them for years, and they just finally decided to do it. The industry is more than OK with this ordinance,” Zeller said.

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