RBC streamlines process

RBC I “We’ve been working on this process for more than a year,” Rio Blanco County commissioner chairman Kai Turner said of the resolution to streamline the permitting process for drilling well pads. Turner and fellow commissioners Ken Parsons and Shawn Bolton approved the resolution Aug. 22.The resolution amends the text of the Rio Blanco County land use resolution, concerning the permitting and regulations of exploration for and production of oil and natural gas and the permitting of well pad production structures and the construction related codes.“We are trying to change the codes to better reflect how we are trying to do business,” Turner said after the meeting. “We want to make it easier to do business in the county.”The application for oil or gas well pads will be a “special use/building permit.” Additional wells are permitted as needed under the original special use/building permit with the submission of well information and payment of fees and any number of wells may be permitted on each pad.Jeff Madison, natural resource manager for the county, said the new application should speed up the permitting process.“We should be able to turn around permits, after they are complete, in two to three days,” Madison told commissioners upon reviewing the resolution.All production equipment and structures, which by standard practice are placed on a well pad, will be covered by the special use/building permit and will not require separate building permits. Limited inspections will be required and all equipment and structures permitted must be constructed to RBC building code, or Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards, whichever is applicable. All production buildings must meet Colorado Division of Housing requirements.Representatives from several energy companies attended the meeting held Monday and expressed their appreciation of the commissioners’ effort to streamline the permitting process.“I believe this will be echoed by others in the room, the dialogue has been great and Rio Blanco County has been great to work with,” said Dave Cesark, vice president of Mesa Energy. “This is a good step in the right direction, streamlining the permitting process and reducing some of the fees.”