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RBC I There are many stakeholders with an interest in the distance from a well to a building. Contrary to belief, this is not just a battle between the oil and gas industry and environmental interest. In the many parties impacted, agriculture is one of the most impacted parties at the table with the many different elements that factor into this process.
The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission’s (COGCC) current setback rules acknowledge and accommodate the reality of the many stakeholders, legal considerations, and technical constraints that impact the distance of wells from buildings. The common perception that distance from a well to a building is an oil and gas company preference is simply false.
“Any proposal of a 1,000-foot setback ignores the complex legal, technical, logistic challenges inherent in well placement. This approach also disregards the numerous stakeholders with an interest in this distance, most importantly, the surface owner,” said Don Shawcroft, president of Colorado Farm Bureau.
He continued, “Arbitrary setbacks limit the current negotiation process between landowners and the operator on the mutually best location of wells. Agricultural irrigation activities are highly sensitive to oil and gas activities and the farmer and rancher should be able to negotiate the placement of an oil and gas well that won’t interfere with agricultural operations such as irrigation, planting, harvesting and grazing activities.”
Nick Colglazier, director of Public Policy, State Affairs for Colorado Farm Bureau, will testify this week in front of Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission hearing. His testimony will cover the issues that increased setbacks will cause for Colorado agricultural producers, as well as the economic impact of these setbacks.
“The amount of local food and fiber producing land would be affected; especially agricultural lands adjacent to community developments. This in turn will affect the ultimate value of a plot of land due to lost areas of production. Crop production losses result in lower income for the farmer, hurting their economic viability in the coming years. This causes direct harm to job creation for a top economic sector in our state,” Shawcroft said.