City of Yukon expands oil and gas well drilling setbacks

The city of Yukon has adopted a new ordinance requiring oil and gas wells to be at least  1,000 feet from the nearest business or residential building. The new setback is an increase from 450 feet required for developed areas and 100 feet for undeveloped areas.

In a special meeting this past week, the city council voted for the ordinance despite the pea of A.J. Ferate of the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association. He had urged the city council to delay the vote but the council moved ahead with approval.

Ferate requested the delay until the Oklahoma Supreme Court rules on Kingfisher County litigation focusing on whether local authorities have such control of oil and gas drilling. He expects a ruling to be made within 60 days after arguments were heard in the past week by the Supreme Court.

As the Yukon Review reported, Red Bluff Resources Operating LLC requested the change of the ordinance as it sought a conditional use permit to drill a well near Wilshire Boulevard and Cemetery Road. While the site is in a rural area, it is also near two homes.

Sam McCurdy of Red Bluff offered to delay the request but also said, “This ordinance has broader implications than our request.” He said the requirement would end up banning oil and gas drilling in the city of Yukon.

Nearby residents complained that the well would present noise issues and one claimed it would be only 550 feet from his home.

“All  I will see south of me is an oil-well site,” said Steve Feland. “My neighbors are 380 feet. It is way too close to my house.”

Others opposed the well who claimed the heavy equipment would damage roads and bridges.

The council eventually voted unanimously to increase the setback to 1,000 feet.