City Council has taken steps to suspend the sale of water and all new permits for hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in Lafayette by preparing an emergency moratorium which will be implemented in the event an oil and gas development application is submitted.
In order for a new or existing well to be drilled or fracked within City limits, a developer must first apply for a permit. Upon application, the City’s moratorium will swiftly be put into play. Because this legal suspension of activity can exist only for a limited amount of time, the most effective use of the moratorium is to execute it when an application is received. If a moratorium were to be implemented now, the City would only be protected for a limited time before a developer could apply.
There have been no new oil and gas developments in Lafayette for 20 years. In the early 1990’s Lafayette enacted regulations requiring the issuance of a permit and special use review before drilling or changes in methodology could begin. So unlike other jurisdictions, these existing regulations have created an additional layer of regulation resulting in no new oil and gas operations within the City.
Currently, Lafayette’s oil and gas setback requirement is 350 feet from a building, a public road, an above ground utility line, a railroad, a wildlife habitat area, a pedestrian, biking or horseback trail, features or sites with official designation as having important historic or archaeological value, a building permitted for construction or a platted lot line for a lot which is covered by an approved preliminary plan for a residential or commercial use; or which preliminary plan is for an industrial use which industrial use is characterized by any extraordinary fire hazard concerns.
Lafayette’s setbacks are more stringent than the State’s regulations. Because Lafayette’s setbacks are placed on a much broader variance of objects, not just buildings, a “red zone map” is not feasible. A map of this nature would require an intricate level of information, some unavailable, and runs the risk of providing inaccurate data. The City will not prepare a map which may potentially reference inaccurate information.
The State is currently in the process of updating new, more rigorous regulations for the oil and gas industry. Once these directives are finalized, City Council will aspire to meet or exceed the State’s revisions and expand our guidelines to further protect Lafayette residents’ water, air quality and land interests.
Lafayette’s first priority is to provide for the safety and well being of our residents. The steps City Council has taken with the creation of an emergency moratorium will ensure these priorities are upheld.