BEFORE THE OIL AND GAS CONSERVATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF COLORADO

 

IN THE MATTER OF THE PROMULGATION AND ESTABLISHMENT OF FIELD RULES TO GOVERN OPERATIONS IN LINCOLN COUNTY, COLORADO

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CAUSE NO. 1

 

ORDER NO. 1-158

 

REPORT OF THE COMMISSION

 

This cause came on for hearing before the Commission at 9:00 a.m. on September 16, 2010, in Suite 801, The Chancery Building, 1120 Lincoln Street, Denver, Colorado, for an order to seek a variance from Rule 804, Visual Impact Mitigation, to exempt all operators within the County from painting production facilities, which are observable from any public highway, with uniform, non-contrasting, non-reflective color tones and with colors matched to but slightly darker than the surrounding landscape by September 1, 2010.

 

FINDINGS

 

The Commission finds as follows:

 

1.         Lincoln County, Colorado (“Lincoln County” or the “County”), as applicant herein, is an interested party in the subject matter of the above‑referenced hearing.

 

2.         Due notice of the time, place and purpose of the hearing has been given in all respects as required by law.

 

3.         The Commission has jurisdiction over the subject matter embraced in said Notice, and of the parties interested therein, and jurisdiction to promulgate the hereinafter prescribed order pursuant to the Oil and Gas Conservation Act.

 

4.         Rule 804 of the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission requires production facilities, regardless of construction date, that are observable from any public highway to be painted with uniform, non-contrasting, non-reflective color tones, and with colors matched to but slightly darker than the surrounding landscape by September 1, 2010. 

 

5.         Further, Rule 801 provides that any Colorado county, home rule or statutory city, town, territorial charter or city and county may, by application to the Commission, seek a determination that any rules and regulations of the 800-Series should not apply to oil and gas activities occurring within boundaries, or any part thereof. Such determination must be based upon a showing by any Colorado county, home rule or statutory city, town, territorial charter or city and county that, because of conditions existing therein, the enforcement of the rule and regulation is not necessary within the relevant boundaries for the protection of public health, safety and welfare.

 

6.         Rule 503.b.(5) provides that any local government within whose jurisdiction the affected operation is located may seek a variance from the Commission.

 

7.         On July 20, 2010, Lincoln County, filed a written request, by its attorney, for a Commission hearing to seek an exemption from Rule 804 for all operators within the County from painting production facilities, which are observable from any public highway, with uniform, non-contrasting, non-reflective color tones, and with colors matched to but slightly darker than the surrounding landscape by September 1, 2010.  Further, it is alleged that the enforcement of Rule 804 is not necessary within the boundaries of the County for the protection of public health, safety and welfare.

 

                        8.         At the September 16, 2010, hearing of the Commission, attorney, George Monsson, appearing on behalf of Lincoln County, stated that Lincoln County believes that the Application Lands should be exempted from this rule because the county is not densely populated, so aesthetics of the tanks and other production facilities are not a concern. When asked if Lincoln County would consider an exemption on the same terms as Morgan and Logan Counties, as had just been approved moments earlier, counsel for Lincoln County responded in the affirmative.

 

9.         Based on the facts stated in the verified application and the testimony presented at the hearing, the Commission should allow Lincoln County a variance from Rule 804 for what the Commission considers to be a land use matter.  The Commission should order that operators in Lincoln County do not have to meet the deadline of September 1, 2010.  The variance does not, however, eliminate the need for painting production facilities in earth tone colors, upon installation or repainting as part of regular maintenance, with the understanding that production facilities shall be kept in good condition and subject to regular, effective maintenance.

 

ORDER

 

NOW, THEREFORE IT IS ORDERED, that

 

1.         The Rule 804 compliance deadline of September 1, 2010 is hereby waived for Lincoln County.

 

2.         The former requirement that any oilfield equipment, including tank batteries, must be painted in earth tone colors upon installation or repainting as part of regular maintenance is reinstated in Lincoln County.

 

3.         Production facilities shall be kept in good condition and subject to regular, effective maintenance.

 

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, that the provisions contained in the above order, shall become effective forthwith.

           

                        IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, that the Commission expressly reserves its right, after notice and hearing, to alter, amend or repeal any and/or all of the above orders.

 

                        IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, that under the State Administrative Procedure Act the Commission considers this order to be final agency action for purposes of judicial review within thirty (30) days after the date this order is mailed by the Commission.

 

                        IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, that an application for reconsideration by the Commission of this order is not required prior to the filing for judicial review.

 

                        ENTERED this__________ day of October, 2010, as of September 16, 2010.

           

                                                                        OIL AND GAS CONSERVATION COMMISSION

                                                                        OF THE STATE OF COLORADO

 

 

                                                                        By____________________________________         

                                                                                    Carol Harmon, Secretary

Dated at Suite 801

1120 Lincoln Street

Denver, Colorado 80203

October 12, 2010