Local News

City Council drilling vote clarified in Colorado Springs

Tuesday rejection leaves door open for drilling operations

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - A Colorado Springs official released a statement Wednesday elaborating on the impact of Tuesday's vote by the City Council rejecting local regulations for oil and gas drilling.

Aimee Cox, a council administrator, said the vote didn't address the controversial process of hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," in which pressurized water, sand and chemicals are injected underground to collect hard-to-reach deposits of gas and oil.

Dozens of "fracking" opponents cheered at the end of the council meeting when the council voted down a proposal to enact drilling regulations, believing the vote would ban "fracking."

Cox also said the vote didn't ban oil and gas operations within the city limits.  The proposed regulations ordinance, she said, addressed land use and development standards including setbacks, emergency plans and traffic impact mitigation.

Exploration for and/or extraction of oil and gas are considered mining activities, Cox said, and are allowed -- subject to a conditional use -- on city-zoned agricultural property under existing provisions of the city's zoning code.

Cox said under current state regulations, oil companies may explore for and/or extract oil and gas using any method including hydraulic fracturing.

The City Council may introduce another proposal for oil and gas regulations later, she said.

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