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Thank you for your willingness to advocate for stronger setback rules in La Plata County!

Details: La Plata County Board of Commissioners Meeting

Location:  1101 East 2nd Avenue, E103, Durango, CO 81301

Date & Time: December 7th at 5:30pm


Chapter 90 Regulation Details:

La Plata County is updating its local regulations for oil and gas development. These regulations establish critical safeguards essential to any community living with oil and gas development. In updating its regulations, the County has an exciting opportunity to use its authority to enact common-sense public and environmental health regulations. Unfortunately, the County is not seizing this opportunity. One aspect of the rule is regarding oil and gas “setbacks”, which describes the distance a well has to be from a home or school. While the state agency responsible for regulating oil and gas requires a 2,000-foot setback in nearly all situations, the County’s proposed regulations only require that wells be setback 500 feet from a property line. 

La Plata County is hosting a public hearing to hear your thoughts on the setbacks and we are urging our members to make their voice heard by showing up and advocating for a 2,000ft setback. 

Talking points: 

  • Introduce yourself (for example: Hi, I’m Emelie Frojen, a Durango resident and Energy and Climate Program Associate at San Juan Citizens Alliance) 
  • Why does this matter to you?
    • Some examples could be:
      • Climate change threatens my (community/ work/ hobbies/ family’s future) and La Plata needs to be a part of the solution. 
      • I live near oil and gas wells and have concerns about the health of myself/my family/ my community
      • La Plata County must be a leader, and protect its community from the impacts of extractive industries.
      • Etc. 
  • State that you support increasing oil and gas setbacks to 2,000 because
    • The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (“COGCC”), the state agency responsible for regulating oil and gas, requires a 2,000-foot setback in nearly all situations. La Plata County must do the same.
    • Rather than simply referring to COGCC setback rules, La Plata County should adopt rules that are at least as protective as the COGCC setback rules but tailored to reflect La Plata County concerns and values.
    • A 2,000-foot setback from any dwelling or school is critical to protect public health and safety, especially in La Plata County which does not have zoning regulations. 
    • A CDPHE study concluded that exposure to air 500 feet from wells “exceeded guideline levels” for benzene, toluene and ethyltoluenes. Exposure to these chemicals is associated with headaches, nosebleeds, fatigue, and dizziness. Exposure decreased rapidly with distance from the well, leveling out safely at 2,000 feet.
    • Wells less than 2,000-foot from homes or schools pose significant risks, affecting the well-being of those who live nearby. 
    • Wells less than 2,000 feet from structures pose risk of fires and explosions. 
    • La Plata County has been a national leader in community-focused oil and gas regulations, and we should retain that leadership role.
    • Any other reason you find compelling! 
  • Conclude by thanking the Commissioners for their time and urging them act for our health and safety by increasing setbacks to 2,000 ft– No one should have to live with the risk posed from being only 500 feet from a well.

Any other questions? Reach out to Emelie (; 949-735-0265) 

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