Gunnison County Commissioners Pass Stronger Oil & Gas Regulations

After dozens of meetings and hearings and two years of hard work, the Gunnison County Board of Commissioners voted this week to unanimously approve stronger oil and gas regulations. While the new regulations are not perfect, they are significantly stronger than the previous regulations.

Citizens for a Healthy Community thanks the Board of County Commissioners, the Planning Commission, County Attorney and the many members of the public who contributed to this process that resulted in the stronger regulations.

The new regulations include a 150-foot buffer between oil and gas operations and virtually ALL water bodies, whereas the state’s regulations only apply to drinking water supplies.  Though 150 feet is not a great distance, this is an improvement over the County’s previous regulations because operators could have sought a waiver to the 500-foot buffer, which could have resulted in a rig right next to a stream.  In addition, the regulations include mandatory use of best management practices that apply to all operations within 500 feet of a water body.

Citizens for a Healthy Community fought for stronger buffer zones, and a mandatory air quality monitoring program, but unfortunately neither were included in the final version of the regulations.  However, these regulations represent a good first step toward greater protections for human health and the environment.

It is important to note that these regulations are a “living document” that the County may revisit at any time.  We look forward to working with the County in the future to build upon and further improve environmental protections.

Again, thank you to everyone who contributed to this effort.  If you would like to thank the County Commissioners personally, you can email them at the addresses below:

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