News & Alerts


On April 19, 2019, the COGCC issued the Director’s draft Objective Criteria and a Guidance Document to address the COGCC’s implementation of SB19-181.

Objective Criteria:

The Objective Criteria apply to APDs (Form 2), Location Assessment Permits (Form 2A), Request to Vent or Flare (Form 4), Intent to Plug (Form 6), Centralized E&P Waste Management Facility (Form 28) and all applications for Comprehensive Drilling Plans (CDPs). If a permit meets one or more of the criteria, it will be subject to additional review. Written public comments will be accepted until 5:00pm MT April 29, 2019. Per the new law, the Criteria must be finalized on or before May 16, 2019. A summary of the Objective Criteria is included below:

(1) 1500’ of a Building Unit or High Occupancy Building (including UMAs and LUMAs)

(2) Within a municipality

(3) 1500’ of a municipal boundary, platted subdivision, or county boundary

(4) 2000’ of a school property line

(5) Within (a) floodplain, (b) Rule 317B buffer zone or Brighton Public Water System, (c) sensitive area for water resources

(6) Within CPW mapped Restrictive Surface Occupancy area (RSO) or Sensitive Wildlife Habitat (SWH) or locations receiving site- or species-specific comments from CPW

(7) Within 1000’ of a Designated Outdoor Activity Area

(8) More than 18 tanks or 5200 barrels of hydrocarbon or produced liquid storage

(9) No Surface Use Agreement (SUA)

(10) Relevant local government or state/federal agency requests additional consultation

(11) Subject to 502.b variance for a permit

(12) Access road is in a RSO, SWH, 317B buffer zone, or within 200’ of a Building Unit on lands not subject to an SUA

(13) An E&P waste management facility

(14) A request to vent/flare (Form 4) from a location within 1500’ of a Building Unit or High Occupancy Building Unit or within the Denver Metro/North Front Range ozone nonattainment area

(15) An intent to plug (Form 6) for (a) a location within 1500’ of a Building Unit or High Occupancy Building Unit, (b) a well drilled with surface casing insufficient to cover all aquifers, or (c) a well subject to a stray gas investigation

Operator Guidance:

The Guidance cites the Objective Criteria as the “lodestar” for considering whether permits, drilling and spacing unit (DSU) applications and comprehensive drilling plan (CDP) applications meet SB19-181’s mandate. Once the required COGCC Rulemakings are completed, the Guidance will be withdrawn. For Forms 2/2A, operators must certify on all submitted applications that (1) they have applied for a siting permit, and (2) the disposition of that permit. The Director considers “disposition” to mean “a final determination by the local government”. The COGCC e-forms will be updated to allow entry of the additional information for new permits; for pending permits as of 4/16/2019, COGCC Staff will request additional information from operators including:

Identifying the local government with siting jurisdiction;

Specifying whether the local government has siting regulations;

Indicating whether a siting application has been filed; and

Noting the disposition (i.e. final determination) of the application

If the local government does not have siting rules, the Form 2/2A will remain in process. If siting has been filed and a disposition is known, the Form 2/2A will remain in process. If no disposition has been made, Staff will wait until there is a disposition before it continues to process the permit. If a siting permit has not been filed, Staff will not process the Form 2/2A until the permit has been applied for and a disposition is known. Form 2s filed to deepen, sidetrack, or recomplete an existing well are exempt from these requirements.

All pooling applications now must include sworn testimony that (1) applicant owns or has secured the consent of more than 45% of the mineral interest to be pooled, and (2) all lease offers were made in good faith. For pending pooling applications, supplemental sworn testimony must be filed to address these requirements – this testimony is due no later than May 28, 2019. If the hearings staff does not receive testimony by this date, the pooling application will be withdrawn.

All pending and future spacing applications must include sworn testimony that (1) applicant has applied for a siting permit from the local government and the disposition of the permit, and (2) compliance with the requirement to minimize adverse impacts to public health, safety, welfare, environment and wildlife in accordance with C.R.S. 34-60-106(2.5)(a). When considering whether the spacing application satisfies the healthy/safety aspects of the law, Staff will consider whether any of the Objective Criteria are present or implicated in the proposed application.

Finally, the Director will be applying the Objective Criteria to any pending or proposed CDP application, and the Director may delay final determination of a CDP to meet the law’s mandate.