Adams County mulls 10- month drilling ban
Proposal targets new activity in urban parts of county
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.