Weld County signed an agreement on Wednesday with Colorado oil and gas regulators setting a 60-day clock to review drilling permits as the state deals with a backlog of applications by energy companies hoping to tap into Colorado’s energy-rich underground.
“We’ve been reaching out to the state for quite some time now,” said Weld County Commissioner Barbara Kirkmeyer during a side session at the Colorado Oil and Gas Association’s 31st Energy Summit.
Kirkmeyer said the county invoked its so-called 1041 regulatory powers — which allow local governments in Colorado to regulate areas and activities of state interest through a local permitting process — in establishing its own oil and gas rules. Senate Bill 181, passed in April, specifically gave cities and counties the power to regulate certain aspects of oil and gas development.
Weld County says the 1041 statute requires state agencies to act on state permits within 60 days of receiving a complete application. Kirkmeyer said she hopes the agreement provides “clarity” for an industry struggling with changing rules following passage of SB 181.
Kirkmeyer said her county, which accounts for the lion’s share of oil and gas production in the state, has nearly 5,000 permit applications still pending at the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission — some for more than two years.