The Aquifer when fracked

The Aquifer when fracked

Sunday, August 28, 2016

City and County Draft Oil and Gas Ordinances

The City of Rio Rancho and Sandoval County have drafted oil and gas ordinances, spurred by last year’s bid by an Oklahoma company to drill for oil just outside the Rio Rancho city limits.
The Sandoval County Planning and Zoning division will hold two public meetings to review the county’s draft ordinance.
The meetings are scheduled for Tuesday and Tuesday, Sept. 6, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the commission chamber in the county administrative building.
This video is from the meeting of August 16 when the draft discussion first appears online prior July 27 meeting it was only a proposal of draft no one was hired to write at that time.
A digital copy of the 30-page draft can be viewed on the county’s website, as well as at the county’s administrative office.
City councilors discussed the 14-page draft at a work session earlier this month.
The city’s ordinance will be available to the public once it has been finalized and presented to the governing body.
No date has been set for a regular governing body reading of the ordinance.
Prompting the proposed ordinances was SandRidge Energy’s application last fall to drill an exploratory well in the Rio Rancho Estates area.
The Oklahoma City-based company withdrew its application in February amid public protests about the project and disagreements between the company and county regarding application requirements.
At the time, neither the county nor Rio Rancho had ordinances addressing oil and gas drilling.
City Manager Keith Riesberg told city councilors during the Aug. 16 work session that city staff began creating an ordinance shortly after SandRidge filed its application.
“Even though the SandRidge application was withdrawn from the county, this issue has not gone away in that it is our understanding that AMREP has contracted the mineral rights for their properties, so we do expect this is going to be an issue that will resurface at some point in time,” Riesberg said.
Both drafts borrow language from established ordinances in other communities.
Maria O’Brien of the Modrall Sperling law firm worked on the ordinance with city staff as the city’s legal counsel. She said the city considered ordinances in Hobbs, Farmington, Bloomfield and in other municipalities in Colorado.
During a county commission workshop in April, Michael Springfield, director of the county’s planning and zoning department, said the county looked at oil and gas ordinances in Rio Arriba, San Miguel and Santa Fe counties.
O’Brien said city staff is trying to create an ordinance that is neither too strict nor too lenient, and also gives the city the option to require an applicant to meet specific or different requirements.
“It’s this balance between having the ordinance be like Bloomfield’s, going on for 50 pages and trying to address every little thing, as opposed to having a general framework, minimal requirements, but then reserving the rights of the city based on a specific proposal to propose additional requirements to effectuate the intent and purpose of the ordinance, which is to protect the public health and safety,” she said.
Both drafts require applicants to provide exploration, production, emergency and road plans. The county would require plans for storm water pollution prevention, waste disposal plan and site remediation.
The city ordinance would prohibit an applicant’s proposed drilling site from being any closer than 300 feet to any building, or production equipment from being closer than 750 feet to any building in the city limits — unless the building is owned or controlled by the applicant. No well would be allowed within 5,000 feet of a municipal water supply well.
The county’s ordinance proposes similar limitations. It would allow no oil or gas facility within 1,000 feet of a ground water recharge area. The facility would have to be at least 600 feet from residential property or lot line, 750 feet from a place of worship or school, 750 feet from an existing water well and 200 feet from a public road.
Fencing and locked gates for drilling sites are required within both ordinances.
The city ordinance requires a site’s disposal for waste to comply with the city’s and state’s air and water pollution control regulations.

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