The Denver Post has reported that residents of Aurora, Colorado are beginning to question the city’s transparency after hearing that administrative waivers may be granted to an oil and gas company, allowing them to build hydraulic fracturing towers 10 feet taller than what local ordinances currently allow.
In 2012 the city approved an ordinance that limits the height of fracking tanks to 20 feet, but city planners are currently trying to amend the ordinance to allow the tanks to reach 30 feet. ConocoPhillips currently has half a dozen well sites within city limits and are expecting to review more applications in the coming months as oil and gas activity increases.
Megan Mitchell reports:
Some residents in one of the closest subdivisions, Murphy Creek, say they didn’t get an opportunity to address city council on the new waivers, which can be approved without going before council.
While the 2012 ordinance only allows the city to consider waivers if a developer violates the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission regulations or if the company encroaches on private property, another ordinance allows the planning and zoning commission to consider any waiver for any reason with a public hearing.
Although many residents support oil and gas development, some are concerned that despite it being performed responsibly, the lack of transparency is cause for worry. In an effort to increase transparency and to create public dialogue, resident organizations such as Aurora Citizens for Responsible Energy offers an open forum where Aurora citizens can express their concerns. The next public meeting will be held on Sept. 9 at 5 p.m.