On September 4, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) a new protocol for reviewing permits within Weld County’s designated 1041 area of special interest in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Weld County.
The process clarifies the necessary steps that must occur prior to the commencement of the statutory 60-day timeframe.
The permits submitted within Weld County’s designated 1041 Mineral Area of Special interest fall within this MOU. These unincorporated areas were designated by Weld County on August 5, 2019. This is also the date that Weld County’s Oil and Gas Location Assessment permitting process regulations are effective.
The MOU ” provides predictability for COGCC, Weld County, operators, and all stakeholders regarding how COGCC will undertake its review of permits in accordance with the Colorado Oil & Gas Act, as amended by SB19-181, COGCC rules, and act in accordance with the 60-day timeline from House Bill 1041. The MOU establishes a process to achieve two of SB19-181’s purposes—increasing collaboration between COGCC and local governments and COGCC’s implementation of the increased public health, safety, welfare, environment, and wildlife considerations,” states a press release from COGCC.
Here is copy of the MOU:
Key Memorandum of Understanding Terms:
The MOU arises out of COGCC’s determination on how to define the interplay between the State and Weld County permitting processes and provides that COGCC will:
1. Within 28-days of receipt of a Weld County Oil and Gas Location Assessment (WOGLA) referral, the state agency will provide comments to Weld County on the WOGLA application. MOU at ¶2.
2. Grant, deny or otherwise respond to a Form 2A within the statutory 60- day timeframe, which begins on the later of a 2A completeness determination by COGCC staff or entry of a Drilling and Spacing Unit (DSU) order governing a proposed 2A permit. MOU at ¶1.
3. Grant, deny or otherwise respond to a Form 2 within the statutory 60-day timeframe, which begins upon the COGCC Staff’s completeness determination and following WOGLA disposition by Weld County. MOU at ¶1.
The MOU states that the 60-day response deadlines applies to any permit application received by the COGCC on or after Aug. 5, 2019 for operations proposed in the Weld County Mineral Area of State Interest.
The MOU does not supplant COGCC using a priority list to determine what permits are being reviewed. COGCC will continue to receive operator priority lists in concert with the MOU’s provisions. For Weld County permit applications, it will continue to be important for operators to submit permits to COGCC that are consistent with the operator’s priority list.
“The COGCC has defined a process to provide all stakeholders a clear understanding of how the timing and order of permits will occur in any area that is designated pursuant to 1041 as Weld County has done,” said Director Jeff Robbins. “We want all operators, stakeholders, and local governments to know how the COGCC works with its partners, including local governments, in establishing permitting processes consistent with 1041. All permits, including those within Weld County, have been and will continue to be reviewed under the Objective Criteria and are subject to any current and future COGCC rulemaking.”
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