Longmont city officials barraged with questions about oil, gas agreement – longmont times-call m gastrocnemius medialis

Longmont’s proposed agreement with a pair of oil and gas companies won’t prohibit drilling for underground deposits inside the city or from wells drilling for deposits under city-owned properties east of those boundaries, city officials acknowledged Tuesday night.

However, any such drilling and petroleum production would be done from pads and wells located outside Longmont, through horizontal drilling — something that Dale Rademacher, general manager of Longmont’s Public Works and Natural Resources Department, said could happen from well pads as far as 2 miles away from the city or city properties east of Longmont.

Rademacher was one of the city staff and council members fielding queries during a public question-and-answer forum about the agreement that got initial council approval last week and is up for a public hearing and possible final council approval on May 22.

As for people’s concerns about whether the proposed agreement would ban the process of hydraulic fracturing to free up deposits underneath properties within the city limits or underneath city-owned properties outside Longmont, Rademacher said it would not.

After more than an hour and a half of city staff presentations and Mayor Brian Bagley’s review of how Longmont’s policies have evolved and guided city negotiations with TOP Operating Company and Cub Creek Energy, Assistant City Manager Sandi Seader said the nearly 50 people in the audience had submitted about 200 questions they wanted answered at the forum.

The city staff was still responding to the written questions as of 11 p.m. — by which time there were fewer than 30 people left in the audience — but Bagley indicated the forum might still include council members’ comments, and further questions from the audience, before adjournment.

The agreement Longmont has negotiated with the two oil and gas companies will, city officials have said, essentially eliminate drilling within Longmont city limits in return for a cash payment of $3 million to TOP Operating and a lease of 516 acres of city-owned mineral rights to Cub Creek Energy.

Some of the forum attendees’ questions included objections to allowing any oil and gas activity in or anywhere near the city. One, for example, charged that the pact would amount to a precedent "that oil and gas know they can do whatever they want."

Some asked in their written questions why the city — which saw the Colorado Supreme Court overturn Longmont’s voter-initiated fracking ban two years — doesn’t go ahead with new restrictions or prohibitions at the risk of being sued again by the oil and gas industry and the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, the state agency that regulates and oversees those activities.

As previously described by city officials prior to Tuesday night‘s forum, 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 Longmont’s city limits.

As part of the agreement, Cub Creek will commit to forever relinquish any right to drill inside Longmont city limits or on city-owned property, conditional upon the state approving its proposed well location in Weld County northeast of Union Reservoir, city officials said.

City Manager Harold Dominguez said at Tuesday night’s forum that while the city expects to receive royalties in return for giving Cub Creek the right to produce oil and gas from the city-owned mineral rights properties, the agreement was never about the money Longmont stands to get.

The next opportunity for people to provide additional information to the council — as well as possible calls for the city to adopt, reject or revise the agreement with TOP and Cub Creek — will be at next Tuesday night‘s public hearing and council consideration of a possible final vote on the agreement and the ordinance enacting it.