Colorado is well-known for its natural resources and history of oil and gas exploration. Like other local governments, Commerce City strives to balance municipal growth and development with the needs of industry. The city's land development code and participation in the state's local government designee program offers a layered approach to protect the interests of the community and the rights of private developers.
In Colorado, oil and gas development is regulated by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC), a division of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources. COGCC manages all below-ground aspects of oil and gas drilling and handles the state permitting process. Permit applications must be submitted to COGCC and approved before any city permits can be issued or any activity occurs on a drilling site. Learn more about the COGCC regulatory process
Recent oil and gas application activity
The city’s role in regulating oil and gas development involves the surface-level activities related to drilling within Commerce City limits. The land development code (LDC) requires any potential well operator to obtain an oil & gas permit and execute an extraction agreement with the city prior to any operations taking place. The LDC also regulates plugging and abandonment of existing well sites in the city.
- Model Extraction Agreement
- Development Review (Article III)
- Uses and Accessory Structures (Article V)
Updating City Regulations
An ordinance making minor amendments to the oil and gas regulations in the LDC was approved on first reading at the October 15 city council meeting. The ordinance is currently scheduled to go back before council for a second reading at the November 19 meeting. The amendments are limited in scope to clarify and reorganize city regulations (including grammatical revisions) and avoid potential conflict with state law. In addition to these minor updates, more policy-oriented additional changes to the city's regulations are expected at a later date.
Oil and Gas Open House
Thursday, Dec. 6
Bison Ridge Recreation Center (community rooms)
13905 E. 112th Ave.
The public is invited to an open house offering information about the new oil and gas development proposed to occur in Commerce City in the coming years. No formal presentation will be given, but a series of stations will provide details on a wide range of topics related to oil and gas activity.
City staff will share information on proposed well pad locations, measures the city will require to address health, safety and quality of life concerns, and the city’s oil and gas permitting process. Staff will also answer questions and collect public comments. Representatives from Extraction Oil and Gas (the operator applying to conduct most of the new operations in the city) will also attend to explain their processes, steps they will take to mitigate impacts and safety concerns, regulatory requirements and more.
Renewed Industry Interest
In spring 2018, interest in oil and gas development in the city began increasing significantly and a large number of new permit applications were submitted to the COGCC. This recent change has sparked a citywide conversation among residents, city council and staff, and industry representatives.
Updates on oil and gas activity and presentations from subject matter experts are being featured regularly at city council meetings, usually on the third Monday of each month.
How to Stay Informed
- View our Oil and Gas Application Activity page for a list of current permit applications with the city and the COGCC.
- Sign up to receive the weekly City Manager's update, which contains the latest information about oil and gas activity each week, or review previous weekly updates.
- Attend city council meetings, especially on the third Monday of each month, when regular oil and gas updates and presentations from subject matter experts are typically given (find updated agendas here).
- Oil and gas speaker series guests:
- July 16 - Julie Murphy, Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission
- Sept. 10 - Sean Hackett, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
- Oct. 15 - Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge
- Nov. and Dec. - No speaker series guests
- Oil and gas speaker series guests:
- Watch live and archived council meetings on our video page. Prominent discussions about oil and gas from recent meetings are noted below:
- May 21, 2018 – staff presentation and citizen communication (discussion starts at 0:09:15 on the video)
- June 4, 2018 – citizen communication and council discussion of a proposed a six-month moratorium on new oil and gas activity (discussion starts at 1:13:35 on the video)
- July 16, 2018 – monthly update and first speaker series presentation from COGCC Director Julie Murphy (starts at 1:22:05 on the video)
- Sept. 10, 2018 - oil and gas study session with presentations from the Colorado Oil & Gas Association (COGA) and North Range Concerned Citizens, along with a speaker series guest from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and city staff's monthly oil and gas update for council.
Oil & Gas and Your Health (Information from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment)