The Back Story
In the summer of 2019, Albany County withdrew its injunction against reactivation of the Tumbleweed gas station in the Casper Aquifer Protection Zone, claiming that enforcement could not proceed due to inadequate aquifer protection regulations.
The process of creating stronger regulations initially was assigned to the Albany County Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z). Its first draft received a torrent of negative public comment. Subsequently, P&Z made a second draft, but then the process stalled out.
What’s Happening Now
The 2020 election changed the dynamic on the Albany County Commission, which has final regulatory authority. To re-start the process of enacting stronger regulations, the Albany County Commissioners have issued P&Z’s second draft of regulatory changes (dated July 2020) for public comment and hearing.
Comments may be provided at any time during the currently-open comment period leading up to the hearing on Tuesday, May 4, at 9:30 am, which can be attended in person or by zoom.
ACWA strongly encourages members of the public to take this opportunity to strengthen the aquifer protection regulations. Comments sent in before the hearing will give the County Commissioners plenty of time to consider concepts and language. Although they cannot make final revisions on the day of the hearing, the more ideas they have to move forward with, the better.
IMPORTANT NOTE: THE PROPOSAL NOW OUT FOR COMMENT (link below) DOES NOT REFLECT THE INPUT PROVIDED BY ACCWA, which was for the most part ignored. Nor do these changes necessarily reflect the views of the current Albany County Commissioners, who have simply put them out for public comment without yet having any discussion among themselves.
While looking at the proposed revisions can be useful, ACCWA encourages commenters not to restrict themselves to the draft, but rather to state plainly what you would like to see in a final version (even if only conceptually).
For example, one might say, “I want to keep our drinking water as clean as possible even if it’s legal to pollute it” or “I don’t want to allow truck stops in the aquifer protection zone.”
The “redlined” version of the proposed changes now available for public comment (this version shows the changes in the context of the regulations currently on the books) can be found here. General or specific comments can be made on the County Commissioners’ contact page.
To stay informed as this process moves forward, including ACCWA recommendations for comments, please email [email protected] to be added to the alert list!