Feb. 25, 2014
Contact: Jenny Davies-Schley, 720-296-9545
Local officials call for action to assure local control over O&G development
County and municipal electeds seek to limit state’s interference in local land use
DENVER – Today more than 50 county commissioners, mayors and city council members from across the state and different parties sent a letter to Gov. John Hickenlooper and state legislators urging to take action to clarify and codify the rights of local governments to use zoning and land use powers to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of their constituents from the impacts of oil and gas development.
“Local elected officials need assurance that the state will recognize and support our rights and responsibilities to make land use decisions, including controlling oil and gas development,” said Eva Henry, an Adams County Commissioner. “With multiple pending legal challenges to communities’ right to self-determination, time is of the essence.”
Local governments have long held the power to balance industrial activities with residents’ quality of life and property values. The State’s role is to set broad statewide protections, while local governments are best equipped to make local decisions about land use in their communities.
“It is crucial for local officials to have the authority to regulate the pace and scale of oil and gas drilling within our communities so we can ensure the health and safety of our residents, maintain local property values and foster our long-term economic vitality,” said Boulder County Commissioner Elise Jones. “Without a common sense solution, cities, towns and counties are thwarted in making decisions that are in the best interest of their residents without the fear of expensive litigation.”
Since 2000, statewide drilling for oil and gas has more than doubled and drilling has nearly tripled in the Front Range. Numerous jurisdictions have passed responded to citizen concerns about public health and environmental impacts by adopting measures to ban, impose temporary moratoria and/or more strongly regulate oil and gas development within their borders. These actions have triggered numerous lawsuits by the oil and gas industry, and sometimes the State, in such jurisdictions as Longmont, Ft. Collins, Lafayette and Broomfield.