Increase Drilling Site Setbacks in Colorado

Drilling Rig with mountains

Drilling and fracking is marching across the Front Range of Colorado, into suburban neighborhoods beside homes, schools, and playgrounds. Local environmental groups like Clean Water Action are being inundated with request from residents to help protect their homes and families. Drilling and fracking for oil and gas can have serious impacts, including:

  •     Water and air quality degradation
  •     Decreased property values and impact to mortgages
  •     Wildlife habitat and natural area degradation
  •     Degradation of river flows and our limited water resources
  •     Increase in noise levels and truck traffic near drill areas

Clean Water is reaching out to communities across the Front Range to educate residents about the negative impacts of drilling and fracking and encouraging members to take action. We are focusing our efforts to drastically increase the distance drilling and fracking sites are from homes and schools.

The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) brought environmental and conservations groups, local governments, home builder and construction groups, and industry to the table for a recent rulemaking process to determine new drill site setbacks. After a nearly yearlong process, COGCC adopted weak setbacks rules.

Drill site setbacks are now 500 feet from structures like homes, and 1,000 from high occupancy buildings like schools and hospitals. However, these new rules include many exemptions that through routine paperwork could bypass these stricter rules. Clean Water Action supports a 2,000 feet setback in order to protect public health and quality of life.

Clean Water continues to support significantly increasing setbacks to protect people from oil and gas drilling and fracking. We strongly urge Governor Hickenlooper to show leadership on this issue. While he has publicly touted the need for stronger regulations for drilling and fracking – the Governor has not taken any significant action to make protecting Colorado residents from the impacts of drilling and fracking central to his priorities.