Sunday, June 3, 2012

10 years since Frederick fought to a draw on oil/gas rules

Updated:   06/02/2012 08:22:14 PM MDT

An oil well sits in a field south of the new Frederick High School. ( LEWIS GEYER )

FREDERICK -- As Longmont struggles over how to regulate oil and gas drilling, the nearby town of Frederick can sympathize.
Frederick, of course, sits in the southwest corner of Weld County -- or perhaps that should be "Welled County." About one-third of the state's active oil and gas wells sit in Weld, more than 17,000 at last count. Of those, 440 are in Frederick, according to town officials.
So the town's no stranger to the industry, or to attempts to deal with it. In fact, Frederick is a legal landmark in the field. Ten years ago, the town and North American Resources Co. (NARCO) were locked in a courtroom battle, waiting for Division IV of the Colorado Court of Appeals to have its say on just how far a town could

Frederick had regulations requiring each well site to be at least 350 feet from an occupied building. Division IV of the Colorado Court of Appeals judges struck down the setback regulations. ( LEWIS GEYER )
regulate a driller.
The results, to say the least, were mixed.
"The court in essence said, 'We're not going to tell you what to do. We're going to say you can do it, just not the way you have done it,'" said Cyril Vidergar, an attorney for the town.
A taxing issue
The issue really started even 10 years before that. Back in 1991, Frederick used to levy an "occupation tax" on oil and gas operators, a specific levy on anyone wanting to bring up oil and gas in the town limits. That got challenged in court and eventually settled -- but in the aftermath, state authorities made occupation taxes illegal in 1996.

As we have stated last year: "It's WELL COUNTY" 

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