Oil and Gas Information

Oil & Gas Information

Proposed Oil & Gas Facility Regulations

Adams County staff presented draft regulations for Oil and Gas Facilities (OGF) to the Board of County Commissioners during public study sessions on Tuesday, July 16 and July 23. Staff proposals include new Application and Permitting Procedures, Zone District Regulations, and Performance Standards and Regulations applicable to new OGF development applications. 

Comments, questions, and feedback regarding the draft regulations can be submitted to Katie Keefe, Environmental Program Manager, via email at kkeefe@adcogov.org. To be considered for the Planning Commission study session on Thursday, Aug. 8, comments must be received by Sunday, Aug. 4. The final submission deadline for all comments is Aug. 13.

Summary of comments received as of August 9, 2019

Process & Timeline:  New Oil & Gas Regulations

June through August: Staff initiates work on drafting regulations.
June 19 - July 3: Individual stakeholders meet to obtain input into regulation content.
July 16: Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) conduct study session to present draft regulations.
July 16-30: Staff revises regulations based upon BOCC input.
July 30: Start public hearing process for adoption of new regulations.
Aug. 8: Planning Commission holds study session.
Aug. 12: Staff evening Open House
Aug. 15: Staff daytime Open House
Aug. 22: Planning Commission holds hearing on new regulations.
Sept. 3: BOCC holds public hearing on new regulations.
Sept. 20: Moratorium expires.

Adams County contact: Katie Keefe, Environmental Program Manager

Oil & Gas Information

The Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) governs the permitting and regulation of oil and gas wells throughout the state. Adams County has limited authority when it comes to the oversight of oil and gas operations within unincorporated areas of the county.

On March 22, 2016, Adams County approved amendments to the Development Standards and Regulations related to the local approval process for oil and gas development. The current regulations require all oil and gas operators to obtain approval for any new oil and gas facilities on a site-specific basis. There are two options for an operator to obtain County approval of a new oil and gas facility location:

  1. AUSR permit process for oil and gas developmentA Special Use Permit (SUP) or
  2. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and an Administrative Use by Special Review (AUSR) Permit

The Special Use Permit option requires a public hearing before the Board of Adjustment (BOA). In lieu of an SUP, an operator may elect to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with the County. Operators who hold MOUs with the County must also receive a site-specific permit in the form of an Administrative Use by Special Review. The Development Standards and Regulations outline the processes for obtaining an SUP, an MOU, and an AUSR permit in detail. Click here to download a larger version of the flow chart at right that depicts the AUSR permit process.

The county strives to make available timely and accurate information on all types of development within unincorporated areas. In order to better inform the public about oil and gas operations in the unincorporated areas of Adams County, the county provides a Weekly Oil and Gas Activity Report. The data supplied in the activity report is collected primarily from the COGCC. The report includes state and county permit status updates, maps of well pad locations, and information about any reported spills.

Adams County Oil & Gas Inspection Program

The inspector position was created when the Adams County Board of Commissioners entered into an agreement with the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) in an effort to increase public outreach and provide administration of the county’s new oil and gas regulations approved in March 2016. Under this agreement, the inspector position is funded by the county, trained by the COGCC, and is inspecting on behalf of both agencies.

The the Oil & Gas Inspector is responsible for field inspections, complaint response, and participates in state and county enforcement of regulations.

When on a well pad, the inspector assesses compliance with requirements for:

  • Signs and markers on storage tanks and wellheads, in addition to emergency contact information;
  • Housekeeping items, such as debris, trash, weeds, and storage;
  • Fencing and berming condition, maintenance, type, and location;
  • Noise, odor, and signs of soil staining;
  • Proper positioning of valves and hatches.
  • Fugitive emissions, if suspected, including documentation in the form of FLIR video;
  • Stormwater and sediment controls, along with vehicle tracking, and condition of access roads; and
  • County USR Permit site-specific conditions of approval.

For a list of the most recent inspections of wells located within unincorporated Adams County, including links to the respective inspection reports, click HERE.

Inspections Map

Traffic Impact Fee Study

The Community and Economic Development Department worked with TischslerBise and Felsburg, Holt & Ullevig, to develop and recommend a traffic impact fee for oil and gas development which was approved by the Board of County Commissioners in a public hearing on Tuesday, June 19, 2018.  

The full report is attached below for your review:

Traffic Impact Study

Orphan Wells

An orphan well is an oil and gas well that no longer has an operator responsible for maintaining it. These sites may result in adverse environmental impacts because no responsible party can be found, or such responsible party is unwilling or unable to mitigate such impacts. These wells and associated sites ultimately become wards of the state.

Former Governor John Hickenlooper signed an executive order in July 2018 to address the potential safety issue of orphan wells, requiring their disclosure, ranking of priority, and cleanup.

Adams County is home to 21 orphan wells and 12 orphan sites with oil and gas infrastructure; information on these wells has been compiled by County staff and can be found here. For the most up-to-date information, please visit the COGCC website at http://cogcc.state.co.us/reg.html#/enforcement/orphans In addition, the COGCC Interactive Map (https://cogccmap.state.co.us/cogcc_gis_online/) has a layer showing the location and current status of orphan wells.

Frequently Asked Questions and Information


Comments and questions concerning state oil and gas permits and regulations should be sent to:

Melissa M. Housey, Oil & Gas Location Assessment Specialist | Email
Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission
1120 Lincoln Street, Suite 801
Denver, CO 80203
303.894.2100 (ext. 5194)
Comments and questions concerning local oil and gas permits and regulations should be sent to the Adams County Oil & Gas Liaison: 

Christine Dougherty | Email
Community & Economic Development Department
4430 South Adams County Parkway
Brighton, CO 80601
Ph: 720.523.6891

For oil and gas leasing, easements, and surface use requests on county-owned property, contact:

Nicci Beauprez | Email
Land & Asset Coordinator
Facilities & Fleet Management Department
4430 S. Adams County Pkwy.
Brighton, CO 80601
Ph: 720.523.6060 | Website