Pending vote, Adams County’s oil and gas moratorium was right

Cross Currents: A column by Bill Christopher
Posted 11/15/18

The Board of Adams County Commissioners made a smart and prudent decision by imposing a moratorium on new oil and gas well applications through the month of November. The reasoning behind this action …

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Pending vote, Adams County’s oil and gas moratorium was right

Posted

The Board of Adams County Commissioners made a smart and prudent decision by imposing a moratorium on new oil and gas well applications through the month of November. The reasoning behind this action was the pending outcome by Colorado voters on Proposition 112.

In case someone missed it in spite of all the campaigning, 112 would have imposed a 2,500-foot setback from homes, schools, waterways and other areas considered vulnerable involving any new oil and gas well applications. Proposition 112 was defeated handily so the 500-foot setback remains the state standard. Let’s hope the next legislative session can produce a setback which is more than 500 feet and less than 2,500 feet to help address this important issue.

The action “levels the playing field”

The 4-1 vote authorizing the moratorium with Commissioner Hansen being the lone “No” vote was opposed by oil and gas interests, as you would expect. County attorney Heidi Miller summed up the reasoning quite well by stating, “This is leveling the playing field.”

There is no reason to allow exploration companies rushing to file more well permit applications BEFORE the election outcome and effective date are known. Plus, it is important to put the moratorium in perspective. Currently, there are 248 permits pending with the state of Colorado which are located in unincorporated Adams County. The county is currently processing 89 new wells which are included in the 248.

Furthermore, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission was considering 5,536 permits as of September 18th compared to 1,887 at the time last year. Needless to say, there has been a huge increase in drilling permits being processed statewide.

Westy City Council “musical chairs” coming

With the dust now settled from the November 6th election, we note that current Westminster City Council members Shannon Bird and Emma Pinter will soon be leaving. Both won their respective races for other elected offices and will be taking office in early January. Bird handily defeated Bruce Baker for House District 35 and Pinter won the Adams County Commissioner seat against Larry Hoy without any trouble.

Both women have served effectively on City Council and will be missed. Now, the remaining city council will have the task of interviewing and appointing 2 new individuals to take their place. I bet there will be a number of “takers” seeking appointment as being appointed is a heck of a lot easier than campaigning for office.

What’s the status of the Westminster recall effort?

Are you wondering what is happening with the recall petition effort triggered by the Westminster water and sewer rates which take effect with the new calendar year? Several people have asked what is going on. Well, the answer is nothing!

The first version of the required affidavit which lays out the reasons why the elected official is being recalled was rejected. According to the City Clerk’s Office, it was rejected on multiple grounds due to a lack of language required by state statute.

There has been no further contact from the group wanting to initiate a recall effort. Now that the election is over, perhaps the group will move forward or perhaps they chose not to pursue it. We will see.

Westy Wolves get raw deal

If you follow local high school sports, you know that the Westminster Wolves had an outstanding football season with a 7-3 record. The Wolves generated a lot of school and community spirit, pride and excitement.

You would think the team would be “in the hunt” in the Class 5A state playoffs. Well, it was extremely disappointing to learn that the Westminster team was passed over and there will be no opportunity to compete in the state playoffs.

The Colorado High School Activities Association calls the shots on which teams make the 24 team playoffs.

Westminster football coach Kerry Denison summed it up quite well by saying “What am I supposed to tell my kids? These kids have gone through some tough seasons, but this year we went 7-3 and we don’t get in the playoffs. Meanwhile, you have a 3-7 team (Lakewood) in and they’re not even the last seed. You tell me how this is right.”

I would say the Wolves got a raw deal from CHSAA, but we are still proud of your successful season!!

Fear mongering election tactics aplenty

Since a part of this column is being written on election day, I cannot pass up my observations on President Trump’s eleventh-hour campaigning and fear mongering tactics.

Don’t you find the timing on calling up 5,000 military personnel to the Mexican border to be suspicious when the migrant caravan was still 1,000 miles from the border? His choice of words calling the caravan an “invasion” is a far reach of the correct terminology, but helps cause fear and opposition to immigrants coming to the United States.

The word “invasion” is most often used in a military context when an army is invading another country such as the D-Day Invasion.

Then, before the election, the President astounds legal scholars with his claim that he can end birth-right citizenship with one of his executive orders. In other words, children born in the U.S.A. after their undocumented parents are here would not enjoy U.S. citizenship.

This is flat out false. Citizenship is guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution and legal scholars were quick to point this out. Again, he throws out another intended fear tactic right before the election. This is not my kind of president!

Bill Christopher is a former Westminster city manager and RTD board member. His opinions are not necessarily those of Colorado Community Media.

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