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Longmont Forum to Address Questions About Oil and Gas Agreement

Post Date:05/11/2018 8:59 am
The City of Longmont is hosting a public question and answer forum on Tuesday, May 15 from 7 to 9 pm in the Longmont Civic Center City Council Chambers to answer questions about an agreement that Longmont has negotiated with two oil and gas companies that will essentially eliminate oil and gas drilling within Longmont City limits in return for a cash payment of $3 million and a lease of 516 acres of City owned mineral rights. 

The Longmont City Council gave preliminary approval to the plan at last week’s council meeting. A final vote and public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, May 22. Before that vote occurs, the City Council wants to give the public an opportunity to learn more about the agreement and to ask questions of city staff. 

At the forum, the public will first hear a staff presentation made last Tuesday to the City Council about the terms of the agreement, followed by a short explanation of city council agenda process, then a panel will assemble to answer audience questions. The audience will be asked to write down their questions on note cards, a facilitator will organize them into categories and moderate the discussion with the panel that consists of Longmont City Manager Harold Dominguez, Longmont City Attorney Eugene Mei, Longmont Assistant City Attorney Dan Kramer, and Longmont Public Works and Natural Resources General Manager Dale Rademacher. 

The agreement stipulates that TOP Operating will plug and abandon eight active wells, relinquish 11 future drilling sites, abandon 80 potential well permits, amend their lease holdings to include a no surface disturb provision, and never again drill from within city limits. The first well closure will be required to take place within 120 days of the agreement. 

As part of the agreement, Cub Creek has committed to forever relinquish any right to drill inside Longmont city limits or on City-owned property, conditioned upon the state approving its proposed well location in Weld County northeast of Union Reservoir. Moreover, Cub Creek will immediately cease all attempts to “force pool” the city’s oil-and-gas mineral rights that are located under City-owned open space east of Union Reservoir and will, alternatively, lease them directly from the City. Any payments due to TOP are to be made from the receipt of these future mineral royalties. 

Background 
In 2012, when faced with more than 200 directional wells proposed on open space within the Longmont portion of Weld County, City staff engaged in negotiations with TOP with the goal of minimizing the number of wells. This led to the development and execution of a master contract in July of 2012, which included 11 consolidated areas that would be available for drilling, yet ensured that each location exceeded the voluntary standards of the City’s oil and gas regulations.  
 
At the same time, members of the community organized a ballot-issue petition that led to a vote in November 2012, banning fracking within the City of Longmont. However, the Colorado Supreme Court eventually overturned the ballot issue, Amendment 300, in May of 2016.  

Following the Supreme Court’s decision, TOP assigned its drilling rights to Cub Creek. Longmont then began negotiations with Cub Creek to permanently end surface disruption due to the extraction of oil and gas from within city limits. Throughout the course of these negotiations, the City fought to minimize the impacts of oil and gas production in and around Union Reservoir, including the location/relocation of drilling outside city limits. This work culminated in the agreement that City Council has preliminarily approved. 

You can view the entire communication and agreement on the City's website: http://webapp.ci.longmont.co.us/mtgviewer.aspx?meetid=865&doctype=agenda&itemid=12304

The previously scheduled City Council Study Session on May 15 has been cancelled to accommodate the forum. You can view the agenda on the Council agenda portal: http://webapp.ci.longmont.co.us/mtgviewer.aspx?meetid=1001&doctype=AGENDA
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