planning hubris

Problems with the 07-2011 Draft Oil & Gas Regs proposed for Elbert County Zoning

Page 5:  “…unless approval has been granted pursuant to these regulations from the Director of Community & Development Services (C&DS) or the Board of County Commissioners (Board).”
Are we setting up an unelected czar of oil and gas zoning enforcement, unaccountable to the voters?

Page 6:  “the County Attorney or where the Board deems it appropriate, the District Attorney……may [act]”
Here again, should enforcement of zoning be allowed without the approval of an elected official?

Page 21:  “Safety practices in accordance with state and federal law, including the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970….”
Elbert County should not be in the business of enforcing federal OSHA law.

Page 23:  “The oil and gas facility shall not cause significant degradation of wildlife, including any federal, state or Colorado Natural Heritage Program-identified species of concern, or to their habitat.  At a minimum, the operation shall comply with the CDOW’s recommended…..”
The CDOW, Colorado and the federal government can enforce their own wildlife regulations.  Elbert County does not need to duplicate those efforts.

Page 23:  “When planning facilities, the Applicant shall consult and reference the current wildlife concurrence data, including the CDOW’s Natural Diversity Information Source database…”
Bio-diversity is buzzword science with no greater purpose than stopping development.  It has no place in industry zoning regulations.

Page 25:  “install wildlife crossovers and escape ramps where the trench crosses well-defined game trails”
Presumably this would be for the really smart or well trained wild game, who know how to use such devices.

Page 26:  “The applicant shall identify the proposed source of fresh or potable water required for the oil and gas facility and dust control, along with a letter from the Colorado Division of Water Resources or a copy of the Water Court decree indicating that the water supply source is acceptable for the use at the oil and gas facility.”
Here again, water regulation falls outside of Elbert County’s jurisdiction.  It’s a matter for the State Engineer.

Page 37:  “the right of the county to determine land uses”
Isn’t it the people’s right to determine land use within allowed limits?  I thought government in America was based on limitations, not rights.

Page 39:  “No oil and gas facilities shall cause a reduction in solar radiation…”
Isn’t it a reach to blame the existence or absence of solar radiation on an oil well?

Page 39:  “Greenhouse Gas Reduction”
Zoning regulations should not incorporate the spurious science of global warming language.

Page 40:  “The county finds that the standard industry practice of injecting highly toxic substances under high pressure into the earth for the purpose of fracturing geologic formations poses an unacceptable risk of polluting these invaluable ground water resources.”
This statement ascribes a harmful intent to the oil and gas industry as a “standard practice.”  The statement is prejudicial, unfounded, and not conducive to sound science or good industry relations.

If the Community and Development Services department needs a toxic blend to regulate, look to the toxic combination of subjects below under which this post is filed.

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