Erie, CO, officials voted 6-1 Monday night to end a six-month moratorium on new oil and natural gas drilling after securing agreements with producers that place stricter regulations on their operations.

Erie had imposed a six-month ban on drilling in March to provide time to work out agreements with Front Range operators in parts of Boulder and Weld counties (see Shale Daily, March 9).

In separate memoranda of understanding (MOU) with Anadarko Petroleum Corp. and Encana Corp.’s U.S. arm, Erie Mayor Joe Wilson told reporters that the new drilling rules have “raised the bar.”

The new measures includes restrictions on hydraulic fracturing (fracking), which some residents have protested. Residents also have claimed that people were moving away because of the oil and gas operations.

Anadarko and Encana agreed to meet certain requirements when drilling within the town, including the use of steel-rim berms around tanks and separators, closed-loop systems for drilling and well completion operations, more effective vapor recovery.

The operators also agreed to a ban on the use of fracking fluid products with diesel, 2-Butooxyethanol or benzene.

In an email to reporters, Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) Executive Director Matt Lepore said the best management practices in Erie’s MOUs “can be incorporated into a COGCC permit to drll. as enforceable conditions of the permit.” The more stringent rules would need to be included with the application to drill, he noted.

Anadarko spokesman Brian Cain told the Daily Camera of Boulder, CO, that the Texas producer had been working with Erie officials for months to reach an acceptable set of rules.

The MOUs, Cain said, were drafted “like nothing else in the state. There is a great regulatory framework in the state already. In this particular situation, the local government wanted to go a little further and we were happy to work with them.”