Adams County mulls 10- month drilling ban

Pro­posal tar­gets new ac­tiv­ity in ur­ban parts of county

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By John Aguilar

brighton » Adams County lead­ers de­bated a 10- month ban on new oil and gas ac­tiv­ity in ur­ban parts of the county dur­ing a heav­ily at­tended pub­lic meet­ing Tues­day night.

No de­ci­sion had been made re­gard­ing a mora­to­rium as of press time, but the makeup of oil and gas op­po­nents and back­ers in the au­di­ence was em­blem­atic of the de­bate rag­ing in Colorado over drilling, es­pe­cially close to homes and schools.

For­mer state Rep. Judy Solano, who lives in Adams County, said she un­der­stands that oil and gas oper­a­tors have the right to ex­tract min­er­als.

“But sur­face own­ers have prop­erty rights as well,” Solano said.

That in­cludes at the top of the list, she said, the health and safety of res­i­dents who live near well pads. She urged county lead­ers to bol­ster the op­er­at­ing agree­ments, called mem­o­randa of un­der­stand­ing, that it en­ters into with en­ergy firms.

“Adams County has an op­por­tu­nity to pause and then go one step fur­ther,” she said.

Com­mis­sion­ers had sev­eral op­tions in front of them Tues­day, most no­tably the mora­to­rium. But they also weighed op­tions that would al­low them to set stricter op­er­at­ing stan­dards as a con­di­tion of drilling in the county.

Com­mis­sioner Erik Hansen asked mem­bers of the Colorado At­tor­ney Gen­eral’s Of­fice and the Colorado Oil and Gas As­so­ci­a­tion whether Adams County would get sued if it en­acted a mora­to­rium.

Sev­eral cities and coun­ties in Colorado have been sued by the state and the in­dus­try af­ter they put into place bans on new oil and gas ac­tiv­ity. Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in those cases largely lost in court be­cause judges said lo­cal mea­sures can’t pre­empt state en­ergy ex­trac­tion laws.

“Would we be ex­pect­ing lit­i­ga­tion like Fort Collins, or would we be like Boul­der ( which hasn’t been sued)?” Hansen asked.

The room was filled with oil and gas field work­ers wear­ing stickers de­fend­ing Colorado’s en­ergy in­dus­try. Also in at­ten­dance were many res­i­dents who in­sist that drilling near homes needs greater over­sight — or needs to be stopped al­to­gether.

The fight in Adams County cranked into high gear last year when a neigh­bor­hood of mostly ru­ral horse prop­er­ties banded to­gether to rail against a 20- well op­er­a­tion pro­posed for an empty field in the middle of Wadley Farms.

Jen­nifer Gam­ble, with the group Adams County Com­mu­ni­ties for Drilling Ac­count­abil­ity Now, said the min­i­mum res­i­den­tial set­back for drilling op­er­a­tions should be at least 1,000 feet.

“Adams County has a fu­di­ciary re­spon­si­bil­ity to pro­tect its cit­i­zens in their schools and in their homes,” Gam­ble said.

“Adams County has an op­por­tu­nity to pause and then go one step fur­ther.”

For­mer State Rep. Judy Solano

boys sawthem stand­ing on the ice be­hind her back­yard. Mo­ments later, she could see only one boy strug­gling to stay above wa­ter.

Af­ter the fu­neral ser­vice, a crowded re­cep­tion pro­duced shoul­ders to cry on and ten­ta­tive smiles as fam­ily and friends shared fa­vorite mem­o­ries about Lantz. Lines formed to em­brace those who were clos­est to the teen.

“None of us re­ally want to be here,” Fr­yar said dur­ing the tra­di­tion­alCatholic ser­vice. “But thank you for be­ing here with one an­other.”

Fr­yar de­scribed Lantz, who had turned 16 re­cently, as fun, sharp and in­spir­ing with a pas­sion for math and sci­ence.

He talked of Lantz’s ded­i­ca­tion to faith, men­tion­ing amis­sion trip­where the sopho­more reached out to res­i­dents in NewMex­ico.

Aphoto of Lantz in bap­tismal cloth­ing stood near his urn.

Fr­yar stressed that while griev­ing was nat­u­ral, Lantz’s fam­ily and friends of faith knew the boy was in a bet­ter place.

“Amaz­ing Grace” re­ver­ber­ated through­out the pews as pa­trons paid their re­spect­ful good­byes one last time.

“In spite of the sor­row of this day, we can have hope,” Fr­yar said.

Nor­manWright, di­rec­tor of Adams County com­mu­nity and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, speaks to of­fi­cials, from left, Jan Pawlowski, Eva J. Henry, Steve O’Dori­sio, Erik Hansen and Charles “Chaz” Tedesco dur­ing a pub­lic meet­ing Tues­day to de­cide whether to pass amora­to­rium on oil and gas drilling in the county. AAron On­tiveroz, The Den­ver Post

A ta­ble in the lobby of St. ThomasMore Catholic Church in Cen­ten­nial dur­ing ser­vices Tues­day for Patric Lantz.

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