Citation
County conditional permits

Material Information

Title:
County conditional permits a reponse to energy development in the West
Creator:
Bransom, Sarah E
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
118, [17] pages : illustrations, charts, maps ; 28 cm

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Energy policy -- West (U.S.) ( lcsh )
Power resources -- Law and legislation -- West (U.S.) ( lcsh )
Energy policy ( fast )
Power resources -- Law and legislation ( fast )
United States, West ( fast )
Genre:
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (pages 119-121).
General Note:
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a Master's degree in Planning and Community Development, College of Design and Planning.
Statement of Responsibility:
Sarah E. Bransom.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
08898955 ( OCLC )
ocm08898955
Classification:
LD1190.A78 1981 .B68 ( lcc )

Full Text
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A Response to Energy development in t^e West
Sarah E. JLransom June, 19PrTr*
Studio Three: Submitted in
partial fulfillment of tve requirements for the completion of the Graduate degree of Planning and Community development,
College of Environmental design, University of Colorado, Denver.


DEDICATION
Jhe Lmp.ejui.ii. and iuxeeei^.^. of thtix Dheit-i. proj-eet can. be. atX.vj-buA.exi -to three i/cm Lmportant mart Ln my. ttfe: 1) my. AdvL-io r, J4e.rbe.rt Smhth, whoae advtee waa atway.p ereattve anxi eonit-rucAtve, 2) Ibane BLchtey., a c.o-worher at the. Offtee of Su.rfac.e- litntng., who provtdexl a touch of eon-i.ctouii.neis.P ratitng. every, ptep of the way., and. 3) my. husband, who put up wtth me.
Dhtp proj.eet t-a. dedteated to my. liiother, who Pahd 3 woutdn1t amount to any-thtng., unte-i.il. 3 reatty. wanted to. (Jhanhi. lijom)


TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page
List of Figures
Abstract..............................................i
Introduction..........................................1
Organization ox Analysis Project Flow Chart
Chapter I.............................................7
Definition and Origin of the County Conditional Permit System
Chapter II...........................................11
Criteria for Judging and Creating the County Conditional Permit System
Chapter III..........................................52
Analysis of Case Studies
Chapter IV...........................................93
Model County Conditional Permit System
Chapter V...........................................114
Conclusions and Recommendations
Bibliography
Appendix


Introduction
Figure 1 -
Figure 2 -
Figure o o
Chapter I
F igure 4 _
Chapter II
Figure 5 -
F igure 6 -
Figure 7 -
Figure 8 -
Chapter III
Figure S -
F igure 10 -
Figure 11 -
Figure 12 -
F igure 13 -
Figure 14 -
Figure 15 -
Figure 16 -
Figure 17 -
Figure 18 -
Figure 19 -
Chapter IV
Figure 20 -
F igure 21 -
"The Problem Triangle," John S. Gilmore.
"Illustration of Lead Time Problem," Colorado Geological Survey.
Flow Chart of Project, author.
The "Basic" Conditional Permit System, author.
The "Expanded" County Conditional Permit System, author.
Organizational Chart: Planning Department, Goodman.
The Community Impact Committee: Major Responsibilities in the Impact Management Process, Environmental Protection Agency.
Summary of Criteria for Judging Conditional Permit Systems author.
Location of Rio Blanco County, Colorado.
Rio Blanco County, Population Projections, THK Associates. Rio Blanco County Permit System, author.
Rio 31anco County Permit System: Strengths and Weaknesses author.
Location of Converse County, Wyoming.
Converse County Permit System, author.
Wyoming Industrial Development Information and Siting Act, Stage I.
Converse County Permit System: Strengths and Weaknesses, author.
Location of Emery County, Utah.
Emery County Permit System, author.
Emery County Permit System: Strengths and Weaknesses, author.
Structure of the Model County Conditional Permit Process, author.
Rio Blanco County Impact Analysis Statement.


Appendi:;
Figure
Fi sure 3
Figure C
F igure D
Pennsylvania Department.of environmental Resources, Illustration of Application Form.
List of Impact Mitigation Funds.
Rio Blanco Oil Shale Company, Impact Analysis Statement
Mobil Oil Submittal to the Wyoming Industrial Siting Administration.


ABSTRACT
iiie focus of this Studio 3 project is on the development of a process which can be implemented at the county level to help offset the socio-economic impacts related to large scale energy developments. The process revolves around the county's ability to attach well defined conditions on the energy developer's county land use permit and is defined in Chapter IV by way of the Model County Conditional Permit Process.
In essence, the Model was developed through several steps:
1) by reviewing a multitude of sources on local land use powers,
2) creating a list of criteria in order to judge existing situations where counties are currently conditioning energy developments, and
3) taking a critical look at the strengths and weaknesses of three case study counties' permit systems. The Model is also the result of the author's personal experiences in dealing with western communities and energy development proposals.
The Preface of this Thesis project identifies the problem to be studied: due to continued reluctance at the State and federal level, local government officials have been charged with the burden of finding solutions to minimize the impact of accelerated growth and development related to energy development. County decision makers have turned to their land use permit powers in order to "force" energy companies to provide assistance to impacted communities. The traditional county land use permit process is not adequate (both in legal terms and in substance) to allow for all affected parties to be involved in conditioning the energy developer's permit. Therefore, a more comprehensive approach is needed and is provided in this Studio 3 project.


ii
Chapter I examines the origin and definition of the county conditional permit process. Although local officials may stipulate impact mitigation under a variety of labels, their authority for action originates from State Enabling Legislation. The process of conditioning a local permit is defined by its five basic components: 1) preparation and submittal of the permit application, 2) the review of the permit application, 3) the participants in the review process,
4) review guidelines for decision making, and 5) implementation and evaluation.
Chapter II presents a detailed list of criteria used to judge or create a county conditional permit process. The criteria highlight the need for adequate local authority, inter-governmental coordination, public participation and comprehensive impact assessments as a pre-requisite for conditioning the energy developer's permit.
Three case studies are presented in Chapter III: Rio Blanco County, Colorado, Converse County, Wyoming, and Emery County, Utah. The discussion of each county includes an analysis of: 1) how they have used their conditional permit powers to define impact mitigations related to energy development, and 2) what the major strengths and weaknesses of their use of the permit process are.
The Model County Conditional Permit Process is presented in Chapter IV. Figure 20 (text) illustrates that there is a need to establish an Energy Impact Task Force and Impact Coordinator at the county level in order to adequately define socio-economic impacts and mitigations. In addition, the county's comprehensive plan, policies and goals must be incorporated in the conditional permit


Ill
process. The Model emphasizes that, in order to create permit conditions that are fair and effective, there must be successful, early interaction between the energy company, local decision makers and the public.
Chapter V presents the conclusions and recommendations for implementing the Model. In summary, each county must assess their own particular situation prior to creating or modifying their permit process. It is hoped, however, that the research and Model presented in this Thesis project will provide valuable assistance to those who seek to utilize local powers to minimize the potential adverse consequences of energy development within their jurisdictions.


Introducti on
On Wednesday, January 14, 1981, the leading stfry of the Rifle Tribune, of Rifle, Colorado read: "Union Oil Company Permit Approvals Called History in the Making." The opening paragraphs are as follows:
Glenwood Springs: Garfield County Commissioner Larry Velasquez put the granting of four special use permits to Union Oil of California Monday in perspective when he called it "a kind of history in the making."
After months of negotiations, compromises and countercompromises, the board of commissioners passed a resolution approving the special use permits sought by Union for the construction of a multi-mi Hi on dollar crude shale oil upgrading plant, a bachelor housing facility, a shale oil pipeline and a railroad spur on Parachute Creek.
The approvals had a long list of conditions attached, including requirements that the oil company provide funds for a new middle school in the R-16 school district, subsidized law enforcement coverage in the Parachute area, and frequent reports to the commissioners concerning fluctuations in the project's workforce.1
This "history in the making," that is, the use of county conditional permit systems to offset socio-economic impacts related to energy development, is the subject of this Studio Three Thesis project. Across the Western United States, local governments are having to face the reality of multiple energy developments within their jurisdictions. Every day, local officials are entangled in serious questions of balance. On the one hand, energy development proposals bring prosperity by creating permanent, good paying jobs for residents, increased employment opportunities for the local service sector, and increased tax base for school districts and other public services. On the other hand, local officials are


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compelled to quickly find solutions to the problems of rapid population increases, growing demands on public services and questions of maintaining the existing "quality of life."
The purpose of this study is to examine the county conditional permit as a mechanism for mitigating certain socio-economic impacts related to energy development. A Model County Permit System is presented based on criteria from a multitude of sources in addition to the experiences of three counties in the West currently utilizing their permit powers to address socio-economic impact questions.
The intention of this paper is not to suggest that the private sector be held responsible for mitigating all impacts created by increased demands on public services. Nor is it the intention of the author to recommend that the county conditional permit be the only mechanism for finding solutions to energy development impacts on local communities. It is, however, the intention of this paper to acknowledge that energy rich counties in the West are beginning to use their permit powers to conditionally approve energy development and that there is a right way and a wrong way for these powers to be utilized. The Model, therefore, represents the "ideal" county conditional permit system from the perspective of how county officials can' best use their powers to define and mitigate socio-economic impacts related to energy development proposals.*
*The focus of this project is on county government rather than municipal government because, in most cases, energy development occurs outside of municipal boundaries giving county officials a more direct role in assessing and mitigating impacts. Also, the emphasis of the paper is on socio-economic impacts (schools, roads, health care, housing, etc.) rather than on environmental impacts in that local officials are, more often than not, compelled to find answers to providing public services rather than focus their attention on air, water and land impact issues.


Background
Figure 1 represents what has been termed as the "Problem Triangle," that is, the inability of local government to keep up with rising demands for public services due to the lack of adequate tax revenues.
FIGURE I
THE PROBLEM TRIANGLE
Degraded Quality of Life 1 -
Inadequate Supply and Stability of Labor Force
Inadequate Goods and Services
Decline in Industrial Output
Inadequate Public Revenues and Capital; Lagging Private Investment
Local Servi Fall Short of Need
Source: John S. Gilmore, et al. Analysis of Financing Problems in
Coal and Oil Shale Boom Towns. (Springfield, Virginia:
U. S. Department of Commerce, 1976), p. 12.
Two examples illustrate this phenomenon. In Rock Springs, Wyoming,
the population increased 20 percent from 1971 to 1974 as a result
2
of extraction and development of energy resources. Leadville, Colorado has experienced similar growth, as one researcher explains: "Leadville became a village in a night, a town in a week, a city in
V
3
a month, and a booming metropolis in a year." Projections put Leadville's population at 50,000 by the early 1980's, where in 1970,


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4
the population was 4,314. Both of these communities have found it difficult to provide public services due to the lack of front-end financing or lag time in securing adequate tax revenues to meet service expenditure needs. It has been observed that it takes five to eight years before tax revenues from incoming residents and energy facilities reach the level where public services can be provided
5
without undue strain on the local financing structure. (Figure 2)
The problem of finding front-end capital to meet rapid increases
of demand for public services is perhaps the greatest problem for
local officials faced with an energy development proposal. County
governments, therefore, have turned to their permit powers to ensure
that energy companies "pay their own way." Returning again to the
Rifle, Colorado article, the County Planner's observations provides
the thrust for the major analysis of this paper:
County Planner Ray Baldwin...said he was satisfied with the results of the Union Oil permit process.
"Union's been a tremendous turn-around," he said.
"They've worked hard with us on these compromises."
But Monday's "milestone," as Velasquez called it, is only one of many expected in the coming decade as energy companies gear up to meet the nation's demands. "A lot more compromises will be in order," said Baldwin.


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FIGURE 2
ILLUSTRATION OF LEAD TIME PROBLEM
tn
u
£0
0
a
£h
0
03
C
0
H
iH
iH
Source: Colorado Geological Survey, Tax Lead Time Study for the
Oil Shale Region. (Denver: Colorado Department of Natural Resources, 1974), p. 3.
Organization of Analysis
In order to thoroughly analyze the contents and structure of the Model County Conditional Permit System, this paper is divided into five chapters, as follows:
1. Definition and origin of the county conditional permit system
2. Identification of criteria for judging conditional permit systems


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3. Description and analysis of three county permit systems
4. Presentation of the Model County Conditional Permit System, and
5. Conclusion and recommendations.
The method of research for developing these five chapters included: 1) investigation of existing sources of information
regarding the historical purpose of conditional permit systems,
2) analysis of three existing county permit systems (Rio Blanco County, Colorado, Converse County, Wyoming, and Emery County, Utah), to determine their strengths and weaknesses, and 3) interviews with knowledgeable individuals.
Chapter Four, presentation of the Model County Conditional Permit System, is based on the criteria established from a multitude of sources as well as from the analysis of the three case studies. Although the use of the conditional permit in identifying and mitigating socio-economic impacts has been termed by many as "state of the art," the purpose of the Model is to provide guidelines for counties which are considering the use of a conditional permit system. The Model may also be used by county officials in evaluating the effectiveness of their existing permit system.
The flow chart for the development of this project is pre-
sented in Figure 3


FIGURE 3* PROJECT FT,nw CUART


hnnr'i-i f-i .r-r
CHAPTER I
DEFINITION AND ORIGIN OF THE COUNTY CONDITIONAL PERMIT SYSTEM


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System Definition
A permit "system" can be defined as that process which leads an energy developer or company through the review of the proposed project by appropriate individuals and the public to the approval or denial of the county permit. The system to be analyzed, then, are the major components of that process leading to the granting of the permit by county officials. These components include:
1. The preparation and submittal of the permit
application:
-What information must be provided to the county and how is that information defined?
2. The review of the permit application:
-What formal and informal mechanisms are
engaged to review the company's application?
3. The participants:
-Who participates in the review and in the decision making process?
4. Review Guidelines:
-What plans, policies and regulations are used to judge the applicant's proposal?
-How do the permit conditions relate to county plans and policies?
5. Implementation of results:
-In what way are the conditions established by the permit monitored and implemented?
A theoretical illustration of the conditional permit system is presented in Figure 4. The definition of the permit system's components provides the basis for judging the three case study examples presented in Chapter III.
The above five components have evolved from Enabling Legislation passed by the State legislature allowing local government action. No matter where the county is located, the authority for utilizing a county permit system must be authorized by the State.


FIGURE 4
THE "BASIC CONDITIONAL PERMIT SYSTEM


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In general, State Enabling Legislation allows the county to establish a system to protect the health, safety and welfare of its residents within the authority of governmental police powers.
In Colorado, for example, State Enabling Legislation allows counties and municipalities to regulate:
1. height, number of stories and size of buildings,
2. percentage of a lot that may be occupied,
3. size of yards, courts and open spaces,
4. density of population,
5. location and use of buildings,
6. congestion in streets and public ways,
7. protection from fire, panic and other dangers, and
8. promotion of the health, safety and welfare of the public.
State legislation, therefore, enables county governments to utilize development regulations for the purpose of promoting the general welfare of county residents.
The manner in which counties choose to use State Enabling Legislation to regulate land use and promote the health, safety and welfare of the public may take several forms. These variations are identified and explained as follows:
UradLLLonot ZonLng Jhe otdebt and mo it commonly ub.ed -Land ub.e cont-rot mechanLbm. Zoning. dLvtdeb. a tou/n. or (bounty. into dLbtrtctb which. arc then regutated ab. -to aic., denbLty, both. of iJLru.cJLu.ro.-b., etc. A zonLng ordLnancc Lt-beJLf may empower the. c-ounty to attach certain, condLtLon-b on the. tana developer tn order for the. propobed hand ube to conform with the county zonLng map. or other ptanb. and poticLe-b.
Contract ZonLng. Attowb. the. developer or Landowner to proceed. with a rezonLng of property, babed on certain, deed rebtriettonb. negotiated betvjeen the. appLLcant and the. county. Contract zonLng hab. been chat-tenged ab. to Ltb. LegaLLty becaubc. the. county doeb. not hav^-gthe power to bargatn away Ltb. power b. to protect the pubtLc wetfare.
Smpact ZonLng Requtreb. that att propobed development be evatuated agatnbt the co bt and benefLtb. to the pubtLc. Jhe evatuatLon mLght Lnctude the co bt of the pro po bat on pubtLc -bervLceb and the benefit


-si-
ll
of the devehopment on the. toeat economy.. Ad. a. reduht of- tire. tmp.a.ct. anaty-dtd., the. county, nay. ptaee condhthond. on tixe. developer to rrhthgate adverd.e con.i&qaeacai of- htd. pro po Cot.
Spectat tide Pe.rm.it A county, may. cta4.4t.f-y., under ttc de.ve.Lopjne.nt regutathonc, att energy. propodoitc to be a dpecLat uCe tlcerebg requtrtng epechat" condhderathon and revtew. 3he contng o rdtnanee may. Cpectfg eertatn eondttton-.i- whtch nitwit, be met before the devet-oper he granted a expect at uce permLt. ^
Subdtvtcton Pegutathon tided to endure that eertatn mtntmum dtan-dardc are apptted to the converdton of hand tnto devetopment. Uhe county, reguhatton may. autho rtee co ndhtho nd on the deveto pq.^ tn order for the propooat to meet county, ptand and potteted.
Condtttonat Permit or Zontng County, regutattond may. edtabttdh a proceed by. u/hteh dpectat eondhthond are ptaeed on the devetop^ tn order for a permtt to be granted for the partteutar propodat.
Uhe proeeAii. htdetf may. requtre that devetopment "potntd" be obtatned tn aecor dance to the pro po Cot1 d compttanee with county, ptand and po Itched..
All things considered., the difference between these particular
land lose controls are the terms employed by the enabling act or
15
county ordinance. The principal is that when a county chooses to place conditions on an energy development proposal, it does so under the authority of its specific zoning ordinance or development regulations.
For the purpose of this study, the term "county conditional permit system" is used to describe that process which is used by local entities to mitigate adverse socio-economic impacts related to energy development proposals. Any one particular county may choose to label this process a special use permit, an impact regulation permit or they may simply attach conditions on a request for a rezoning of land to accommodate an energy proposal. As will be shown by the case studies, the process of placing socio-economic conditions on development proposals is evolving depending upon the background and political "sophistication" of the county.


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The over-riding concern of those observing the process of county conditional permit systems is that the stipulations placed on an energy developer be justified and within the legal boundaries of the countys regulatory authority. The Model presented in Chapter IV is an attempt to illustrate the means by itfhich a county should exercise sound planning and policy decisions when attaching conditions on the energy developer's permit. In order to judge existing case study permit systems and to develop this Model, criteria need to be established. This criteria is the subject of Chapter II.
V
X


Footnotes: Introduction and Chapter I
'Glenwood Springs (Colorado), Rifle Tribune, 14 January, 1981,
2
Roger D. Lee, Energy Development: Socio-Economic Impact Problems and Mitigation Strategies, (Utah Department of Community and Economic Development: 148), p. 17.
'"'ibid, p. 12.
4Ibid, p. 12.
5Ibid, p. 12.
6Rifle Tribune
14 January, 1981.
y
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Land Use Controls in the United States, (New York: The Dial Press, 1977), p. 318.
Q
Mary Roberts, "Managing Rural Growth, Land Use Regulations and the Rural Colorado Town," (University of Colorado, Denver, 1980).
9
Ibxd, p. 52.
10Ibid, p. 44.
11Ibid, p. 46.
12Ibid, p. 51.
13Ibid, p. 51.
14
Ibid, p. 51.
15
Robert R. Wright, Land Use in a Nut Shell, (St. Paul, Minnesota: West Publishing Company, 1978), p. 123.


CHAPTER II:
CRITERIA FOR JUDGING AND CREATING THE COUNTY CONDITIONAL PERMIT SYSTEM
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Background
As was stated in Chapter I, the process of regulating land use and placing conditions on development proposals has evolved with the growing demands for energy resources throughout the West.
The traditional approach to the processing ox any development application was to review the proposal for its conformance with county standards, namely, height restrictions, drainage designs and consistency with the county zoning map. Today, county officials are faced with complex energy facility designs which may have greater off-site impacts associated with the development than with the facility itself. Therefore, many county governments are "experimenting" with the process of conditioning energy development proposals in order to mitigate these secondary socio-economic impacts.
This process can be broken down into five components, as was established in the preceding chapter:
A. The permit application,
B. The review process,
C. The participants,
D. Review guidelines and basis for decision making, and
E. Implementation of results.
These five components become the basis for defining the criteria by which county conditional permits can be judged and/or created. Conditional Permit Criteria A. The Permit Application
The actual piece of paper which an energy company submits to the county is the first step in the conditional permit process.
The contents of the application itself may be stringently defined if an application form is used by the county. The second possibility


-12-
is for county regulations to define the contents of the permit application thereby allowing the company to interpret what information is to be submitted to county officials.
An example of a development application form is found in Appendix A. Developed by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources for the permitting of solid waste facilities, the form illustrates how questions can be used to assess the environmental and socio-economic impact of a proposed facility within the application document itself. This allows a company to respond to a standard set of impact questions by merely "filling in the blanks."
The use of the standard application form versus the applicant's own interpretation of what is to be submitted to the county have advantages and disadvantages. The advantage of the standard application form is that: 1) specific questions are asked of the company with less room for misinterpretation of the information requirements, 2) standard multipliers (employment, family size, etc.)' and models can be stated by the county providing more accuracy in the impact analysis, and 3) the application form would provide consistency of information submitted by multiple energy developers in the county.* The disadvantage of the standard application form is that it does not create the impetus for "state of the art" socio-economic
*According to one government official, the over-riding problem in areas of multiple energy development is that each company hires their own consultant who use their own multipliers and assumptions for defining impacts of their energy proposals. This causes discrepancy in the data and makes it difficult for officials and the public to fully understand the implications of any one energy proposal on the local setting.


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investigations. By simply filling in the blanks, the company is discouraged from using innovative modeling techniques which might lend themselves to defining impacts on a particular area. The form may also be challenged as to its assumptions and accuracy if the county requires that specific multipliers and/or models be used.
The advantage of generally establishing the application requirements through county regulations (rather than through an application form) is that the process becomes less formalized, allowing the company and the county to "negotiate" over what information should be submitted. The regulations or ordinance might, for example, require that the applicant describe the impact of the proposal on schools, housing, social services and the county road system. The applicant is then free to develop an impact report focusing on these concerns. Again, the greatest disadvantage of this system is that the applicant must interpret the county's needs and requirements, leaving room for discretion and error.
Whether or not the county uses the more formal application
form or the less formalized impact report, the criteria for judging
the adequacy and effectiveness of the county's system is that the
information needs and policies are made clear to the applicant at
16
the first stage of the permit process. This criteria is reflected
in the following statement:
By. o-iitabttiihtng., paubttctztng. and p.ropiartng. -to aaforce ipectftc tJuindardii., the. (county.) -Lit- maiztng. known how tt wLiih-Q.il. -to 6-ee g.rowth ta)z.e. ptaoe, and wthL bo. abte. to requ/Lre deuedoperi. to conform, to (county.) tn order to carry, out thoLr det/eXopino.nL p.tanis..


-14-
The applicant should be made aware of the county's policies, plans, goals and objectives regarding energy development proposals at this stage of the permit process. In addition, the applicant should know from the start what information is to be submitted, how the application will be reviewed and who will participate in the review process.
Therefore, the criteria for judging a county's approach to the permit application can be summarized as follows:
1. County information needs should be clear to the applicant.
2. If a standard application form is used, the county must have confidence in the multipliers, assumptions and standards required of the applicant.
The form should not prohibit the applicant from submitting his own data and impact analysis report.
3. If the county development regulations require the applicant to address impact areas of concern in a report rather than in a standard form, the type and nature of this information should be made clear. This may be achieved through a preapplication conference.
4. The applicant should be made aware of the specific plans, policies, goals and objectives regarding development in the county.
5. The first stage of the permit process should appraise the applicant of what information is required, how the application will be reviewed and who will participate in the review process.
B. The Review Process -Structure
The structure of the permit review process encompasses the major steps by which an energy company's application is reviewed and processed by local entities. This process will obviously vary depending upon three factors: 1) the State Enabling Legislation


dis-
establishing the powers of local government, 2) county regulations which may define the review process itself, and 3) the "sophistication" of the county government, i.e. whether or not the county has advanced its thinking as to its role in dealing with energy development proposals.
As was illustrated in Figure 4, the traditional permit review process includes the submittal of the application to the Planning Director and Planning Commission. The Commission reviews the application to ensure conformance with county standards and policies and then passes its recommendations to_. the County Commissioners, the final decision makers in the process. With the present energy boom, Western counties have had to readjust or evolve this traditional approach, thereby expanding the roles of those involved in the permit review process. For example, Mercer County, North Dakota has established an Energy Development Board which reviews and passes judgement on energy proposals. The Board, among other things, ensures consistency of the proposal with County goals and objectives, requires specific impact mitigation through the County permit, and monitors changes in socio-economic conditions in the County.
Using Mercer County as an example of the expanded role of county officials in considering energy proposals, a theoretical illustration of this evolving process is presented in Figure 5.
The advantage of expanding the review process to include more participants and more steps is that energy development proposals are complex and involve a multitude of implications for surrounding


FIGURE 5
"EXPANDED" COUNTY CONDITIONAL PERMIT SYSTEM


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communities. The obvious disadvantage is that the process can become unwieldy and mismanaged through lack of coordination and misinterpretation of what county officials expect to get out of the process.
In what has been termed as the "permit explosion," the Urban
Land Institute sees coordination as a major problem with expanding
the local permit process, as witnessed by these statements:
"Coordination is desperately needed; sometimes there may be four commissions within a single local government that reviews a single proposal.
"The current system is very fragmented; there are great time delays. Applicants are confused as to where they should go.
"Increasing regulations and lack of coordination directly affects administration costs. More staff has to be hired to handle additional work."-'-
The American Society of Planning Officials (now known as the American Planning Association) also observes this problem:
"Land use regulation has become so complex that it cannot be properly administered by laymencity councils, planning commissions,
19
boards of appeals, etc."
The criteria for judging or creating a permit process which may veer from traditional approaches must address these problems if a county seeks to have successful interaction with energy development proposals. The criteria for the permit review process is listed and explained as follows:
Does the applicant and the participants know what the review process is, who will review the application and what criteria will be used to judge the application? As stated in the previous section, these issues should be addressed in the beginning
1.


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of the permit process either by formal county standards or by a less informal mechanism such as the pre-application conference.
2. Is it clear to the applicant and the participants who will have the final say in the decision making process? In most cases, the County Commissioners will be the final judge.
3. Is the authority for the permit review process clear to the applicant and the participants?
A recent U. S. Supreme Court decision challenged the authority of local government's control of projects occurring on federal land. (Ventura County v. Gulf Oil Corporation, 9th Circuit:
1979) Therefore, the county should clearly explore and state its authority for engaging in a more complex review process.
4. Is the permit system efficient and does it seek to minimize duplication of effort between permit reviewers? The review process should stress coordination. For example, the local sewer and water authority should be involved in the permit process from the beginning rather than expecting the applicant to go through a separate review process. The county should strive to define the energy proposal's impact on county services collectively and as comprehensively as possible.
5. The review process should be flexible. The county should consider the types of proposals which might require a more comprehensive assessment and should define these types of development. For example,
a proposed subdivision for a mobile home park may not require the intensity of review as that of an oil shale facility which proposes to employ 1,500 people. The intensity of review for any one particular development should be defined by the county permit regulations.
6. Is due process of law established in the county permit process? County statute should allow for appeal of decisions made by county officials.
There should also be established time limits for the review of an application and when the final decision is to be administered by county officials.
7. The review process should seek meaningful results and not meaningless paperwork. The county should establish from the start that the review process


-18-
will be engaged to mitigate detrimental socioeconomic impacts resulting from the energy proposal. The process should, above all, seek to define these impacts and create opportunities for their mitigation. Any paperwork, studies or documentation required of an energy company should reflect this purpose.
8. Is there adequate representation from affected parties involved in the review process? All county services affected by the energy proposal,
i.e. school district, housing authority, health services, should be consulted and represented in the final decision on the applicants permit.
There should also be citizen representation in the decision making process.
The criteria presented above defines the minimum requirements for a county permit system attempting to deal comprehensively with energy development. Coordination and participation are obviously key factors in the success of the permit process. The end result of the process, adequate mitigation of adverse socio-economic impacts, should reflect these factors. Adequate representation and its importance in the decision making process is explored in the next section.
C. Who Participates?
The discussion of who does and should participate in the permit review process is divided into two parts; 1) the formal participants who are either elected by the county at large or are appointed by county officials to serve in the decision making process, and 2) the informal participants who may have some influence in the permit process. These informal participants may include an energy impact advisory committee, citizen groups, conservation organizations, business interest groups, and individual concerned
citizens.


-19-
A discussion of the structure and functions of both the formal and informal participants are presented in this section. The criteria for judging how well these participants function in the permit process is then presented.
Formal Participants
The formal participants in the county conditional permit system may include the following:
1. County Commissioners
2. County Planner
3. County Planning Commission
4. Impact Coordinator
5. Energy Impact Mitigation Team or Task Force.
In traditional planning and zoning situations, the roles of the first three participants (Commissioners, Planner and Planning Commission) may be defined by State or county statute. As discussed previously, State Enabling Legislation may give the authority for county land use decisions to the County Commissioners or Planning Commission. County statute may further define who will make the ultimate decision in the permit decision making process.
The Planning Director serves under the Commissioners and directs the activities of the Planning Commission, which in most cases, serves as an advisory group to the County Commissioners. Figure 6 illustrates the two most basic structures used in defining the relationship of these participants. As shown, there is an option to place the planning staff, i..e. the Planning Director, under the Planning Commission or directly under the chief execu-
tives' office.


FIGURE 6
Organization Chart, Independent Planning Commission
Organization Chart, Planning Department
Source: William I. Goodman, (editor), Principles and Practice
of Urban Planning, 1968.


-20-
The traditional role of these formal participants in the conditional permit process is as follows:
1. County Planning Director: Receives application and reviews it for consistency with county regulations, plans and policies. The Director may serve as technical staff for the Planning Commission in passing judgement on the design of the applicant's proposal, in accordance with county standards. The Director may make a preliminary decision on the proposal and lend his/her advice to the Planning Commission for their review.
2. Planning Commission: Serves as an advisory group to the County Commissioners and is usually composed of citizen representatives who review the application for its consistency with county plans (usually referred to as a Master or Comprehensive Plan).
The group may also pass judgement on the proposal's consistency with county planning policies.
3. County Commissioners: Are, in most cases, the ultimate decision makers in the permit process.
The Commissioners review the recommendation given by the Planning Commission and the public at large through a formal hearing process and then grant, deny or grant pending certain conditions, the permit to conduct the activity.


-21-
The current or expanded roles of these three formal participants with respect to energy development is further defined by the criteria presented later in this chapter.
In response to energy development and the impacts associated with it, there has been a move to create an Impact Coordinator or Director position within county government. In Colorado, the origin of the Impact Coordinator stemmed from the multitude of proposals for oil shale development. With the creation of the Oil Shale Trust Fund, an administrator was needed at the county level to insure that these funds were allocated in terms of the most pressing needs of the county. Therefore, the Impact Coordinator serves, in general, to establish priorities for government funds, monitor energy development activities in the county, and to define the potential impacts of an energy proposal on county and community services.
The role of the Impact Coordinator may take on many variations as will be shown in the case studies. These roles vary from one of coordinating the activities of the Energy Impact Task Force to someone who actually mediates between industry and community service representatives in the conditional permit process. The Coordinator's role is dependent upon several factors:
1. The "philosophy" of the county regarding their authority to manage or regulate impacts caused by energy development,
2. The present role of the County Planning Director and his/her ability to deal with impact issues


-22-
beyond the normal scope of insuring consistency with county statutes, plans and policies, and
3. The role of the Energy Impact Task Force and its
activities in the permit decision making process. This last point requires a more detailed explanation and is provided in the proceeding section.
The Energy Impact Task Force
There are two basic types of task forces that have recently emerged to deal with energy development impacts.* The first type is that which is appointed by the County Commissioners to deal solely with energy development and their impacts on public services. This type of task force may include representatives from the following areas:
-School Districts
-Mayors of communities in the county
-Fire District
-Water and Sewer Districts
-Recreation and Parks Districts
-Health Care Services
-City Managers
-Law Enforcement Districts
These entities represent the major public service areas which may be impacted by increased growth from energy development. Each member on the task force is responsible for identifying current service capacity and increased demands on that service from the expected population increase. Mitigations are discussed by the
*Task Forces involved in energy development may take on several names such as the "Impact Mitigation Team" or "Energy Impact Committee." For the purpose of this discussion, any formalized body having direct responsibility in the permit process is referred to as an Energy Impact Task Force, or simply, the Task Force.


-23-
task force in terms of what is needed to offset these impacts. As will be shown in the case studies, the task force may be directly responsible for defining the terms of the energy company's permit, that is, what the company is expected to provide the county (or individual communities) as conditions for the granting of the county permit.
If the task force takes on this role of defining impacts and their mitigations, the Impact Coordinator gathers information from each service representative, designs a mitigation "package," and reports to the task force the results of the "cumulative" impact mitigations required to offset consequences from the proposed energy project. The task force members may then negotiate between themselves and with the energy company in developing their final recommendation for the County Commissioners. The Commissioners, in theory, use the recommendation to take action on the conditional permit application.20
In counties where there is no Impact Coordinator, or Impact Task Force, the Planning Commission and Planning Director may serve somewhat the same function. The Planning Commission may be charged with the responsibility to define not only land use related impacts, but also impacts on public services. Therefore, the Commission, with the aid of the Planning Director, may design the mitigation package.2^
Community Impact Committee
The second type of advisory body that may be formed to deal with socio-economic impacts is the Community Impact Committee.


-24-
This is a less formal group in that it is usually formed on the initiative of concerned citizens, rather than by appointment of governing officials in the county. Its purpose, however, is somewhat the same as the more formal task force.
In 1978, the Environmental Protection Agency released several Action Handbooks in response to the growing demand for information on how to deal with energy and growth related impacts. Although its focus is on community rather than county-wide impacts, it is applicable to this study.
The role of the Community Impact Committee is defined by the Handbook as follows:
Dhe. CommunLtg Jmpac/t ComrrLtte-e. Lc the. majjor cxorcLLna
LLng body, '{-or the. oLLLz.e.n' C ctuxig and goat cettLng apjv rii. Jh.exj. are. re-CponcLbte. f-o r CattLng the. cLLrexo-LLon of- £die. iru/oii/ement procai-i, ptannLng arid conduct Lag. communLtg rne.estLag.ii. whLch wLLL be. the. prLmarg mecn.4 of- eJcc.hxiag.Lng. Lnf-ormatLcn, dce.p.enLng cornmunLtg Lnte.re.ct., and guLdLng the. fo rmutatLo a of racomme.nd.exL communLtg goatc. Ac. re.cx>gnLz.exL LextxLe.rC of the. communLtg.1C Lmpact nianageme.nL e.f-f-o rt, CommunLtg Smpxict CommLLLe.e. membe.rc wLLL contLnue. Ln advLcory. rote.C u/he-n to cat gowe.rnme.nt unde.rtah.ec the. tach of- LranctatLng recommended goatc Lnto uLabte programc whLch wLLL ef-f-ec tLuetg chape f-uture growth acco rdLng to the. communLtg1c ctatexi coacami and decLrec. ^
As illustrated in Figure 7, the Committee, through the establishment of study groups or task forces, defines impacts within the guidelines of the community's goal and objectives. The Committee, therefore, is an informal mechanism designed to get interested citizens and community leaders involved in the process of managing community impacts and growth.
If county officials act as the initiators in organizing and appointing a Community Impact Committee or Citizen's Advisory


FIGURE 7
THE COMMUNITY IMPACT COMMITTEE: MAJOR RESPONSIBILITIES IN THE IMPACT MANAGEMENT PROCESS
STAGE IN PROCESS RESPONSIBILITIES -
Overall The Community Impact Committee is the hub of the community impact management process. It acts as a clearinghouse for information, generates official statements, and has ultimate
responsibility for the direction of community involvement.
Community Involvement Assemble information and publicize the proposed project.
(Chapters 7-11 in Handbook) Call community meetings. Lay out the problem. Lay out the community study plan. Create task forces to study areas in depth. Ensure balance in study process by reviewing task force representation and recruiting representatives of concerned areas.
Community Study Identify potential impacts in relation to task force information on existing facilities,
(Chapters 12-15 in Handbook) conditions, concerns. Coordinate and monitor task force activities. Consolidate task force reports and refine major questions. Summarize major points made by task forces; develop an overview of "what is" and "what may be. Consolidate community goal recommendations and lead community goal setting session.' Work to gain adoption or endorsement of recommended goals by local government and community organizations.
Planning for Action Work with local government to develop priorities within the task force study areas and for the
(Chapters 17-20 in Handbook) community as a whole. With local government develop a strategy for how to act and a sequence of actions. Inform the community of government programs and of new developments as they occur.
Follow-up Call annual or bi-annual community meetings to
(Chapter 37 in Handbook) assess programs, reevaluate goals if necessary, and deal with new problems or opportunities when they arise.
Source: Environmental Protection Agency, "Action Handbook: Managing Growth in the Small Community," 1978.


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Committee, the issue of who should be represented is important.*
A list of suggested representatives includes:
-Realtors
-F armers/ranchers
-Schools
-Churches
-Social Services
-Civic clubs
-Minorities
-Elderly
-Youth
-Environmental Groups
-Energy development company representatives^
One caveat directed to officials desiring to form an advisory committee is to insure that appointees are motivated by a genuine interest in helping to improve the county or community and that
representatives understand their role as being advisory in the
24
decision making process.
To review, the basic difference between a formal Energy Impact Task Force and the Impact or Citizen Advisory Committee is that the Task Force is composed of public service district representatives who engage in the process of defining impacts and specific mitigations to be applied through the conditional permit. The less formal Impact Committee, although it may be sanctioned by the Commissioners, has a broader role in defining goals and objectives for the county. The Committee may be asked to review a specific energy proposal, but, in most cases, it does not engage in the formal process of negotiating with the applicant over which mitigations will be conditioned in the permit process.
*The EPA Handbooks call for community leaders or officials to act as "Initiators" to organize citizens into the Impact Committee. In some cases, the County Commissioners may appoint citizen representatives to a Citizen Advisory Committee, which might have a more formal link to the Planning Commission or directly to the County Commissioners.


-26-
The groups that have been defined do not acknowledge the fact
that there may be individual interest groups or organizations in the
county who may influence the permit decision making process. For
example, a local ranchers association may be concerned about the
impact of a development proposal on agricultural lands or water
supplies. The group may take its concerns to a formal public
hearing or may engage its influence through the media, petitions
and letter writing campaigns. Whatever the tactic, the decision
makers should acknowledge these concerns and factor them into the
permit process as explained by one author: "There is nothing more
effective for quickly changing the mind of a public official,
especially an elected one, than a sizable number of well-organized
people who, through objective discussion and data collection, have
gotten their act together...unified, well founded public opinion
25
is still the most effective weapon in participatory democracy."
In order to bring together these various actors in terms of their role in the conditional permit process, criteria have been established. This criteria defines the role of each of the actors previously identified as to what they should consider when making a decision on an energy development proposal. A summary list of all the criteria for each of the actors is presented at the conclusion of this Chapter.
Criteria
County Commissioners: In almost all cases, the Commissioners will have the final say in whether or not energy development will occur in the county and under what conditions. Since the Commissioners


-27-
will establish these conditions through the permit process, their role takes on extreme importance. A listing of all the factors which might influence this political process is beyond this study, however, some of these factors may be characterized as follows:
-County Commissioners may be influenced solely on their own perceived need for economic development in the county.
-The Commissioners may be influenced by selected groups or agencies inside and out of the county. For example, federal findings on the impact of a proposed energy project on air and water quality, or influences from the State level, i.e. the governor, may influence the decisions of the Commissioners.
-The Commissioners might be influenced by a wide range of interests who feel they have a "stake" in the permit decision.
This final point establishes the basic criteria for the role of the County Commissioners. Whether or not there is a formalized Planning Commission, Energy Task Force or informal citizen's group in the county, the Commissioners must be prepared to take seriously the concerns of these groups and to balance these concerns in the best interest of the county.
Due to the fact that there are so many "outside" influences which may pressure the County Commissioners, it is imperative that the Commissioners fully participate in the permit review process from its first to last stage. Ideally, the Commissioners should


-28-
participate in the Impact Mitigation Task Force where impacts are defined and negotiations take place with a number of actors potentially impacted by the energy development proposal. The Model County Conditional Permit System, presented in Chapter IV, emphasizes the need for the task force and the Commissioners' participation on it.
If an Impact Mitigation Task Force does not exist in the county the Commissioners must then use, to the extent possible, the advice of the Planning Commission, other advisory groups, as well as individual concerned citizens in passing judgement on the energy developer's conditional permit.
Whatever the existing structure of participants in the county may be, the criteria for judging the Commissioners' actions is clear:
The county commissioners must fully participate in the permit process and take into account the opinions and concerns of all participants in the process when setting conditions for an energy development proposal through the county permit process.
Planning Director: As stated previously, the role of the Planning Director may vary depending upon the structure of the county. In the case of a permit application for energy development, the Planning Director may be the first stop in the review of a company's proposal. If there is a Comprehensive Plan, the Director reviews the proposal against the criteria established in that plan. The Planning Director is also responsible, in most cases, for reviewing the proposal against specific ordinances (zoning, building and design standards) to determine the proposal's consistency with
county law.


-29-
If there is no Impact Mitigation Task Force or if the Planning Commission does not have the necessary expertise, the Planning Director may be solely responsible for defining the impacts of the proposal on county and community services. The process of defining impacts is commonly referred to as "impact analysis" and involves a series of steps to predict the benefits (revenues) and costs (expenditures) of a development proposal on public services.
The Planning Director, then, is responsible for giving advice and technical assistance to the Planning Commission, which in turn passes its recommendation to the County Commissioners. The criteria, therefore, for judging the actions of a Planning Director may differ according to each situation; however, the following criteria may generally apply to the role of the Planning Director:
-The Planning Director should be responsible for
bringing all significant issues related to the proposal to the attention of the County Commissioners.
-The Director should be prepared to define, comment on and make recommendations to the Planning Commission and Commissioners as to the impact of the proposal on public services and the welfare of county residents.
-The Director should ensure consistency with county standards, plans and policies and be prepared to identify how the energy proposal might be altered to meet these standards, plans and policies.
-If no other mechanism exists, the Planning Director should seek to coordinate the activities of the Planning Commission and Energy Task Force so that efforts are not duplicated.
-The Planning Director should act as a liaison between State, federal and local officials, if no other mechanism exists for this function. The Director may also serve as a liaison between the energy company and county officials to receive information and negotiate conditions for mitigating socioeconomic impacts.


-30-
-The Planning Director should, if no Impact Coordinator exists, monitor the companys compliance with the con-diti6ns established by the permit. The Director should also, periodically, monitor the efficiency of the permit process itself. If changes need to be made in the manner in which a permit application is reviewed and processed, the Planning Director should be prepared to give input on those changes.
The divergency of the role of the Planning Director from its traditional role should reflect the above established criteria. As counties evolve in their approach to dealing with energy development proposals, so too will the function of the Planning Director and his/her staff.
Planning Commission; As stated before, the Planning Commission's traditional role has been to act as an advisory body to the County Commissioners in zoning and development matters. In reviewing energy development proposals, however, the Planning Commission may take on greater responsibilities. The County Commissioners may seek to utilize the Planning Commission in sorting out significant issues related to the impact of the development on the county. The Commissioners may also use the Planning Commission as a "sounding board" in proposing and eventually establishing conditions on the energy company's permit.
For example, in Rio Blanco County, Colorado, the Planning Commission reviews the energy project, establishes impact areas to be addressed by the company in an impact report and determines the proper mitigations to be applied in alleviating impacts. In other counties, this process may be less formal, but the point is that Planning Commissions may serve a broader function than in its traditional role of reviewing proposals against county plans and
standards.


-31-
The criteria, then, for establishing or judging the role of the Planning Commission in their activities in the permit process is as follows:
-If no other group or mechanism exists in the county which can be used to help establish the conditions for the permit, the Planning Commission should lobby for this role. Recommendations from the Planning Commission should be reflected in the permit conditions.
-The Planning Commission should receive advice from the Planning Director as to the impact of the proposal on the county; however, the Commission should be prepared to draw its own conclusions regarding the potential impacts and mitigations necessary to offset these impacts.
-The Planning Commission should formally and informally solicit advice and opinions from representatives of public services affected by the energy proposal. This advice should be reflected in the Commission's recommendations to the County Commissioners.
-The Planning Commission should review the proposal and its associated growth impacts carefully against county plans, policies and standards. These are tools by which development is to be judged. The Commission should be prepared to document why the energy proposal may not comply with these tools.
-The Planning Commission should seek to directly involve the energy company in its decision making process. This should include formal and informal meetings with the company to identify issues and expectations of both parties.
-The Planning Commission should publicize and make itself visible during the decision making process.
This goes beyond the usual public hearing held to air concerns about the proposal. The Commission members should make themselves available to solicit opinions and promote public awareness concerning energy development issues in the county.
-The Planning Commission must strive to be consistent in its own decision making process.


-32
This last point is perhaps key in judging the effectiveness of the Planning Commission. When reviewing multiple energy development proposals, the Commission cannot afford to be discriminatory or subjective in its decisions. In setting conditions for the energy developer, the Planning Commission's reasoning should be sound and based on thorough impact analysis. A company who feels it is being singled out or required to "pay the way" for impacts
not directly related to its operations will most likely challenge
26
the conditional permit. This is currently the case in Gillette,
Wyoming where multiple coal extraction development has made it
difficult to identify appropriate mitigations from any single
operation. Here, careful study, documentation and monitoring is
being utilized to give backing to local officials and to ensure
27
some degree of fairness toward energy companies.
The role of the Planning Commission, like that of the Planning Director, will evolve depending on the situation of the county and the interest and dedication of the members of the Commission.
Impact Coordinator: If the county has created the position of an Impact Coordinator, his/her role should be clearly defined in relation to other functions in the county. The three basic functions of the Coordinator may be to: 1) be responsible for coordinating the activities of the Impact Mitigation Task Force, 2) identify sources of funds to offset impacts, and 3) act as a liaison between the energy company and specific government entities, i.e. school districts, housing authority, social services, etc. This third


-33-
function is the focus of the criteria for judging the effectiveness of the Impact Coordinator in designing mitigations related to specific energy proposals:
-The Impact Coordinator should understand his/her role and be able to communicate that role to the public service representatives, the energy company and the public.
-The Coordinator should undertake a thorough analysis of the impacts related to the energy proposal prior to discussing and developing mitigations.
-The Impact Coordinator should work closely with the task force in defining and designing mitigations.
The title "coordinator" implies that the person holding this position does just that. One reason for the creation of this position is so that the energy company does not have to approach each service entity separately, rather the company comes first to the Impact Coordinator who can then work with the service entities as one unit.^
-The Impact Coordinator must establish a working relationship with the company to ensure that the permit process is not seen as a measure to obstruct energy development in the county.
-The Coordinator should keep the Commissioners and other officials informed of his/her discussions with the company. The Coordinator should also keep on top of energy development proposals and operations in the county and pass this information to officials and the public.
-The Coordinator may aid the company in developing the application for the conditional permit. The Coordinator should know what information will be required by the public service entities and can insure that this information is submitted in the early permit stages.
-The Impact Coordinator should coordinate his/her activities with the Planning Director and Planning Commission so that there is consistency between decisions and activities based on county plans, policies and standards.


-34-
-The Impact Coordinator should work closely with State and federal officials to identify sources of funding to mitigate impacts.
This last point is an important one in defining the role of the Impact Coordinator. Although the Coordinator may act as a liaison between the company and the county in designing the conditional permit, he/she should introduce all opportunities for mitigating impacts on the county. If federal and State funds are available to mitigate impacts, they should be factored into the permit process. This will insure that there is a balanced approach to establishing permit conditions and that the county's conditions are fair and reasonable. A list of potential funds for impact mitigation is presented in Appendix B.
Impact Mitigation Task Force: A "formal" Impact Task Force composed of representatives of potentially impacted public service areas can be a valuable tool in the conditional permit process. Its major benefit is that it can act as a group or unit in defining impacts and mitigations, rather than as separate entities. This allows the county to take a comprehensive approach to coordinating and designing a mitigation package and applying it to the permit.
The criteria for judging the involvement of the task force in the permit process can be listed as follows:
-Members of the task force should represent the Commissioners and the major service areas to be affected by the energy proposal. County ordinance or directive should encourage continued involvement of the task force rather than in some voluntary capacity.
-The task force should understand the impact analysis process and use it as a tool for defining demands on public services resulting from the energy proposal.


-35-
-The task force, like the Impact Coordinator, should be aware of all sources of impact mitigation funds and aid and should incorporate these sources in their recommendation to the Commissioners.
-Members of the task force should strive to integrate
county and municipal plans in their decision making.
-The task force should act as a "united front" in compromising and coordinating with each public service representative and the company.
This last point is perhaps the most important of all the
criteria. If the task force is established to negotiate with the
energy company as to needed impact mitigations, the group cannot
afford to "in-fight." It is understandable that there are competing
interests among county and community service entities; however, if
the task force is to be successful in designing an acceptable
mitigation package, its philosophy must be one of compromise and 29
negotiation.
Advisory Committees and Interest Groups: Informal groups such as the Citizen Advisory Committee may play an important role in the permit process, but only to the extent that county officials acknowledge their presence in the permit decision making process.
The Impact Committee may undertake, by their own initiative, an analysis of potential impacts from the development proposal and may pass their findings to the County Commissioners. As defined in the criteria for the Commissioners, these officials have the obligation to consider advice and recommendations from advisory committees and public interest groups. The criteria, therefore, for judging the effectiveness of these groups is how well they present themselves and their position to the Commissioners.


-36-
Citizen groups should, as a minimum, use every opportunity to state their position (hearings, media, letter writing campaigns, informal meetings with Commissioners) and should be prepared to defend that position.
As will be shown in Chapter IV, there is an advantage to formally connecting the role of the advisory committee to that of the formal Impact Mitigation Task Force. Since the task force serves to define the nuts and bolts of what will be required to offset adverse impacts, the advisory group, representing the view of the county tax payer, can provide input as to who should pay for what, and at what level of intensity. As a minimum, all interest groups should be provided the opportunity to participate in the permit decision making process.
Hole of the Energy Company: A special word needs to be said concerning the role of the energy company in the conditional permit process. Some sources believe that the energy company should act strictly in the sense of the applicant, that is, present the proposed project and be prepared to negotiate the details of the per-
30
mit conditions at some point in the future. Other sources, however, contend that the energy company should participate in the Impact Mitigation Task Force itself. In this case the company is represented in equal terms along with other representatives participating in the permit process. This position is reflected in this statement, from EPA's Action Handbook:
"Representatives of energy companies who are planning work in the area should be brought into the process early. In so doing, they will be aware of the


37-
community's needs and problems, actively seek to involve company representatives... and try to assign such representatives some meaningful role in the growth management effort beyond that of simply providing information."31
The implication of this statement may not be necessarily to involve the company in the permit process, but it does recommend that the company be invited to participate in defining issues and concerns for the community or county. This, of course will depend on the willingness of the company to participate in such matters. It is an advantage to both the county and company to involve all parties in discussing growth impact issues rather than simply taking the stance of a "we-them" attitude.
Conclusion
This section has emphasized that no matter who the participants are, each has a significant role in defining impacts from energy-development proposals and how these impacts should be mitigated within the permit process.
It should be understood that these participants must act under established regulations or guidelines and that there is a basis by which permits are granted, denied or conditioned. The next section examines the permit regulation itself and presents criteria for its effectiveness in dealing with energy development proposals.
D. Criteria for Judging the Conditional Permit Regulation
The ordinance or regulation giving the county the authority to place conditions on an energy development permit requires attention. The county may have a well represented Planning Commission, a knowledgeable Planning Director and a multitude of


-38-
advisory committees; however, if these actors do not have a well defined ordinance or set of regulations from which to base their decisions, their function is meaningless.*
The criteria for judging the adequacy of the county permit regulation is divided into two parts: 1) the contents and structure of the regulation itself giving the conditional permit process its authority setting standards for applicants, and 2) the relationship of this regulation to other planning functions in the county.
The Regulation
When a county adopts a regulation establishing the right to attach conditions or stipulations on a permit, it should do so within two sets of parameters; 1) the State Enabling Legislation, and 2) the established county goals and objectives for managing energy related impacts. The first parameter has been discussed in the beginning of this study where it was concluded that the State should empower local government in adopting growth management controls, including the right to condition permits for land development.
The second parameter is somewhat more difficult to define.
The prerequisite for an effective conditional permit system is the establishment of goals and objectives, as observed by this source:
*The specific document giving the county the authority to impose conditions through the permit process may be called a county ordinance or development regulation or an impact regulation, depending on the particular situation. For the purposes of this study, the document giving the county the authority to engage in a conditional permit process will be referred to as a development regulation, or simply, the regulation.


-39-
". goats. shoutd be aixderstood to be statement'.i. tlxat eommtt the eommu-nttg. -to a. dtreetton of- deeLston mak.-L.ng. and aetton. aie goats., ptanS. and pottetes. as a basts for att deetshons. tegtstattwe bodtes and the pubtte vA~tt -Soon aeeept (the proee.-S.-S.) and the (eou-nty.1 s) goats. wttt be stmpttfted.
Without stated goals or policies, the county will make decisions
on the permit in a vacuum. County officials, as well as the energy
company, should know what these goals and policies are since they
will be used to justify any conditions placed on the permit to
mitigate impacts.
The regulation itself may vary in each county in terms of wording, structure and authority. The case studies will present examples of regulations which authorize the conditional permit process. The general criteria to be applied when constructing or judging the conditional permit regulation is as follows:
-The regulation should reflect the county's goals and objectives. For example, if it is the county's policy that developers be responsible for assisting in providing housing for its workers, then the regulation should require the energy company to address impacts on housing.
-The regulation should be clear and concise stating where (particular State statute) it derives its authority.
-The regulation should establish what information is required from an applicant, what the permit review process entails and who will participate in that process.
-There should be due process and time limits built into the regulation which defines an appeal process and amount of time the review of the application will take.
-The regulation should be directly related to the county Comprehensive Plan and/or any other established plans or programs in place in the county related to growth and development.


-40-
This last point is expanded upon in the next section.
Other Planning Functions
The regulation itself should state that there is a direct relationship between the action taken on a permit and the established plans, policies or standards of the county. An example of such wording comes from the Rio Blanco County Impact Regulation:
"This regulation is designed, enacted and adopted for the purpose of regulating the use of land on the basis of the impact thereof on the county, its communities or surrounding areas and other matters in accordance with the County Comprehensive Plan in order to protect and promote the health, safety, morals, convenience, order, prosperity and general welfare of the present and future inhabitants of Rio Blanco County.
This paragraph authorizes the county to utilize its Comprehensive
Plan as a basis for decision making. It also announces to the
energy developer that the Plan is a working document and will be
used to judge the development proposal.
There are other plans or programs which the county should consider when making a decision on an energy proposal.* Examples of some of these plans are as follows:
-Capital Improvement Programs
-County Economic Development Plan or Programs
-Recreation and Open Space Plans
-Facility Plans
-County Health Services Plans
-Social Service Plans and Programs
*0bviously, not every county which may have a conditional permit process will have a list of plans to draw from when making permit decisions. The list is provided to emphasize that the county should use whatever guidelines it has available in documenting its decisions on the permit.


-41-
As an illustration of how a county can utilize established plans
and programs in the conditional permit process, there is an effort
in New Mexico to make consistent energy development and its asso-
34
ciated growth impacts with local water quality management plans.
The obvious connection between energy development and the demand for water quality can be established if the regulation requires that the development be consistent with the provisions of a particular water quality management plan.
In conclusion, when attaching conditions on the county permit, the Commissioners must acknowledge appropriate county and community plans as well as their goals and policies, as re-emphasized in this statement from the New Mexico State Planning and Development Office: "...the policies of governing officials must be a part of the framework for (county) decision making leading to the implementation of public programs and facility projects. Private development efforts are not detached from public development goals, and in fact should always be coordinated with other development activities of the (county).1,35
In addition to the criteria of basing decisions on established plans, goals and policies, several other questions need to be asked of the county conditional permit process. These questions appear in the proceeding section.
E. Other Issues to be Considered
The final section of this chapter focuses on the remaining criteria; for judging the conditional permit process. These
issues are:


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1. Are there special mechanisms within the permit process which require mitigation of impacts?
2. How binding are the mitigations imposed by the conditional permit?
3. Are the conditions monitored as to their effectiveness in mitigating socio-economic impacts?
4. Is the permit process itself periodically evaluated as to its effectiveness? and
5. Cost to consumers.
These five issues are discussed in the following paragraphs.
The first issue is whether or not the county has created
special mechanisms within the permit system for impact mitigation.
Two examples serve to illustrate this concept. In Ramapo, New
York, a permit system was devised that required the developer to
obtain points prior to receiving a permit. Points were awarded to
the developer based upon the site's readiness for development.
"Readiness" is defined by the availability of public facilities
3 6
in place or scheduled in the capital improvement program. The
developer has the option to obtain his own points by agreeing to
furnish, at his own expense, public facilities and services.
A similar system is in place in Davis, California. Here,
points are not only rewarded for availability of facilities and
services; the town also awards points for conformance with the
37
Comprehensive Plan. In this way, mitigations are achieved as well as some degree of consistency between development proposals and established goals and policies.
The use of point systems in the West has not been prevalent among counties faced with multiple energy development. There may


-43-
be two reasons for this: 1) Western counties have been focusing their attention on off-site socio-economic impacts whereas the Ramapo and Davis examples deal mainly with the development site itself, and 2) Western county permit systems are just evolving and the expertise to develop and manage a point system has not yet been available.
As will be discussed in Chapter IV, point systems or other mechanisms requiring impact mitigation may be applicable when permitting energy development. The contents and structure of a point system as applied to the development permit, is a topic in itself requiring further investigation.
The second issue, whether or not the energy company is bound by the conditions placed on the permit, is more complex when defin-ing judgment criteria. There have been numerous court decisions which have questioned the authority and legality of local government control over the private sector's use of land. These include (Golden v. Planning Board of Ramapo, Court of Appeals of New York, 1972, and Weeks v. City of Bonner Springs, Supreme Court of Kansas, 1974). As stated previously, the most recent Supreme Court case has challenged local governments authority to regulate impacts on federal land. (Ventura v. Gulf Oil) This case is most often cited by local officials in their reluctance to use their permit systems to condition energy development proposals.
One example of this reluctance is currently being voiced by Rio Blanco County, Colorado. In an interview with the County attorney, it was stated that federal officials often point to the


-44-
County's permit powers as being the panacea for impact mitigation;
however, the county does not want to be faced with a major law suit
from energy companies challenging the legality of their only tool
3 8
for mitigating off-site socio-economic impacts.
In order to avoid continual legal challenges, the county must "do its homework" to insure that conditions are based on thorough impact analysis. Also, the regulation itself must cite the particular State Enabling Legislation giving the county the authority to exercise its land use permit powers. As will be shown in the Converse County, Wyoming example, the county should also state in its regulation the binding nature of conditions placed on development permits.
In addition to establishing the binding of the energy development to the permit conditions, the County should also insure that compliance with these conditions will be monitored.
The monitoring of permit conditions is important in the overall picture of socio-economic impact mitigation. Western counties and municipalities in major energy development areas are establishing monitoring of socio-economic conditions as part of the companies' permit approval. In Gillette, Wyoming for example, companies are
required to participate in monitoring conditions such as changes
39
in the community's crime rate. This information provides local officials with an up-to-date profile of impacts from increased population and growth.
Although most monitoring efforts are geared to requiring the company to provide reports on changes in their workforce, local


-45-
officials should also monitor the compliance of the company with permit stipulations. For example, if a company is required to provide assistance to a community or county over a long time period, county staff should be prepared to monitor compliance over time.
The county should also be flexible in establishing long term commitments from an energy company. As conditions change in the county, permit stipulations may have to be adjusted accordingly. A monitoring program may assist in defining those changes in conditions.
The fourth issue, monitoring of the permit process itself, can be simply stated as follows: the county should undertake a periodic review of how it processes permit applications to determine its effectiveness, both in terms of time and impact mitigation results. This review may come from the Planning Directors office or from a special task force. The point is that if the process appears to be "bogged down" with every permit application or if negotiations on permit conditions are not successful, then the county should be prepared to analyze its permit system and be willing to make changes.
One way for this periodic review to occur is for the County Commissioners to establish a policy of internal review of the permit process. County staff would then be given a formal directive to conduct a periodic review of the success and failures of the permit system.
The final issue of this chapter is whether or not the permit system takes into account the cost to consumers of placing conditions on the energy developers permit. According to recent research conducted by Ronald Cummings and Arthur Mehr of the University of New Mexico,


-46-
"The escalation of costs and prices (in energy "boom" towns) not only causes hardship for local residents, but it also results in increased costs to energy consumers throughout the nation. To the extent that these costs can be held down by providing adequate community facilities and services, all would benefit community residents, energy companies and energy consumers The obvious questions are, how much investment in the community is needed to stem this inflation and who should make it?40
Unfortunately, Cummings and Mehr's research falls short of
correlating the cost of energy with the investments that energy
companies might have to make in providing community services and
facilities. However, the major point is that, although the county
will obviously not have the required expertise to make such an
analysis, local officials should be sensitive to this issue. For
example, one energy company proposing to construct a 400 megawatt
facility in northeast Utah has informed local officials that any
community investments demanded of the company will have to be
41
brought before the Public Service Commission for approval.
County officials should be aware that this "complication" exists and that their permit conditions may have ramifications for not only local residents, but for energy consumers at large.
These five issues as well as the rest of the criteria presented in this chapter are summarized in the next section. A summary list is presented outlining the major criteria for judging or creating a county conditional permit system.
Summary of Criteria
In order to provide the basis from which the case study permit systems will be judged, the criteria discussed in the previous sections are summarized in Figure 8.


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FIGURE 8
SUMMARY OF CRITERIA FOR JUDGING CONDITIONAL PERMIT SYSTEMS
A. The Permit Application
1. The application form itself should be clear and concise letting the energy company know what information is required from the start of the permit process.
2. The applicant should know, through established standards or pre-application conference, who will be reviewing the application, what the review process is, and what criteria will be used to take action on the permit application.
B. The Permit Review Process
1. The process of reviewing the application should be understood by both the energy company and
the public. (See A, 2 above) All parties should know who will be making the final decision on the permit and its conditions.
2. The process should have established time limits for the review and final decision on the application .
3. The right to appeal the permit decision (due process) should be established within the process. These procedures should be made clear to the applicant in the first stages of the process.
4. The process itself should emphasize intergovernmental coordination between public entities to eliminate duplication of effort and minimize costly delays for both the applicant and county. Mechanisms for coordination include the utilization of an Energy Impact Task Force, an Impact Coordinator and specific directives issued by the County Commissioners.
C. Who Participates
Formal Participants:


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1. Planning Commission
-Role should be established and understood by Commission members.
-Should review the application against known criteria, policies and plans.
-Should solicit outside public opinion prior to passing judgement on the permit application. This should be done through formal and informal public meetings and publicizing significant issues related to the energy proposal.
-The Commission should insure that there is consistency in their decision making to eliminate charges that their recommendation to the Commissioners are arbitrary and capricious. __
2. Planning Director
-Should identify significant issues related to the permit application.
-Must insure that recommendations handed to the County Commissioners are based on careful analysis of impact.
-Should solicit opinion from public entities and the public prior to making a decision on a permit.
-Reviews the proposal to insure technical adequacy based on county standards, plans and policies.
-Should facilitate coordination in the review process.
-Should seek to monitor socio-economic stipulations placed on the applicant's permit as well as monitor effectiveness of the permit system itself.
3. County Commissioners
-Major role is to insure that there is a balance of interests reflected in the permit decision. Mechanisms for creating this balance are to establish an Impact Mitigation Task Force, a


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well represented Planning Commission, numerous public meetings and other opportunities for public input into the permit decision.
4. Impact Coordinator
-Should operate under an established role and understand that role within the conditional permit process.
-Should define for the county major impacts and benefits accrued by the permitting of the energy development.
-Should act as a liaison between the energy company and the county. This function should seek to coordinate information and in developing the impact mitigation package for the development permit.
-Should act as a mediator for the county in developing the mitigations. As a mediator, the Impact Coordinator should insure that all public entities are represented and kept informed of the negotiation process.
-The Coordinator should be aware of the county policies and plans regarding growth and development and should operate under these guidelines.
-Should coordinate the activities of the Impact Mitigation Task Force and should provide up-to-date information to this group as well as to other county officials.
Informal/Formal Participants:*
1. Impact Mitigation Task Force
-Should insure that all public service entities are represented.
%
-In making recommendations to the County Commissioners, this advice should be well founded on thorough impact analysis results.
*As this report has stated, there is an option to make advisory groups a formal part of the decision making process. The Model presented in Chapter IV will advocate that these groups be an informal part of the process, presenting less of a "threat" to energy companies and thereby promoting cooperation.


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-The role of the Task Force should be understood by the energy company as well as all county officials in the decision making process.
-Should integrate county and community plans in its decision making.
-Should strive for consistency in its decision maki ng.
2. Other Interest Groups and Participants
-The permit process itself should insure opportunity for input from interested groups and citiz ens.
-Interest groups commenting on the permit application should make their concerns clear and well founded.
-The energy company itself, should be allowed to participate in the permit process. Mechanisms for participation include company representation on an Energy Advisory Committee, formal and informal meetings with the company and creating public awareness as to the applicants proposal.
D. Authority and Contents of Local Permit Regulation
1. The Development Regulation should give adequate authority for attaching conditions on development permits.
2. The regulation should cite specific State Enabling Legislation giving local government authority to condition permits.
3. The regulation should be clear and consistent with established county goals, policies and plans.
4. The regulation itself should be periodically reviewed to determine its effectiveness in conditioning impact mitigations.
E. Other Issues
1. The county should consider establishing formal mechanisms such as a point system to provide an incentive for company mitigation of adverse socio-economic impacts.


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2. The regulation should establish the binding nature of the permit conditions.
3. The stipulations placed on the permit should be monitored as to the company's compliance with these stated requirements.
4. The permit process should be periodically examined to determine its strengths and weaknesses.
5. The permit review process should take into consideration the cost of permit conditions on energy consumers. The county should be aware that there may be other entities, i.e., public service commissions, which may have to approve the company's commitment to socio-economic mitigations.
These five areas (A through E) summarize the major criteria for judging county permit systems. After this criteria is applied to the three case studies, a Model County Conditional Permit System will be presented in Chapter IV. This Model will reflect the above defined criteria in addition to the results of the analysis of the three existing systems.


Footnotes: Chapter II
16
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Managing Growth in the Small Community, Part I, (Boulder, Colorado: Briscoe, Maphis, Murray and Lamont, 1978), p. 14.
1^I_bid, p. 14.
13
The Urban Land Institute, The Permit Explosion, (Washington, D. C., 1976), p. 32.
19
Listokin, David, Land Use Controls: Present Problems and Future Reforms, (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University, 1974), p. 35.
20
Thomas Staley, Converse County, Wyoming Impact Coordinator, March, 1981.
21Based on analysis of Rio Blanco County, Colorado permit systemSee Chapter II.
22
EPA, Handbook, Part I, p. 14.
22
^ Ibid, p. 14.
Herbert Smith, A Citizens Guide to Planning, (Chicago: American Planning Association, 1976), pT 133.
25Ibid, p. 139.
O C
Gerry McPhee, Northern Coal Company, Denver, March, 1981.
27
Robert Kimble, Wyoming Research Corporation, March, 1981.
28Ibid, March, 1981.
29
EPA, Managing Growth in the Small Community, Part III, p. 27
30
Thomas Staley, Converse County, Wyoming, March, 1981.
31EPA, Part III, p. 31.
22
^Ibid, p. 26.
Rio Blanco County, Colorado, Impact Regulation, Section 1003
1978.


34
New Mexico Energy Resources Board, Facility Siting and Managing Energy Impacts in New Mexico, (Santa Fe:" State of New Mexico, 1977;, p. 3-9.
35
New Mexico State Planning and Development District III, Stra-tegy for Areas Impacted by Energy Related Development, (Albuquerque: Middle Rio Grande Council of Governments, 1978), p^ 18.
3 6
T. William Patterson, Land Use Planning, Techniques of* Implementation (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1979), p. 292.
37Ibid, p. 292.
3 S
Harris Sherman, Legal Council to Rio Blanco County, Colorado, April, 1981.
39
U. S. Department of the Interior, Final Environmental Impact, Proposed Mining and Reclamation Plan, Rojo Caballo Mine, Campbell
County, Wyoming, (OSM-EIS-3: 1981).
40
New Mexico State Planning and Development District III, p. C-l.
41
Sterling Merril, Deseret Generation and Transmission Cooperative, March, 1981.


9
CHAPTER III:
ANALYSIS OF CASE


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Case Studies: County Conditional Permit Systems In order to construct the "Model" County Conditional Permit System, three real-world case studies are presented. Each case study is divided into four sections:
1. Background
-Location of County
-Past, present ana future conditions
-Impetus for development of permit system
2. Authority for Permit System
3. Description of the Permit System
-Contents and structure
-Who participates
-Major features of permit system
4. Analysis of Permit System
-Strengths and weaknesses based on criteria.
The analysis of these existing permit systems against the previously presented criteria will result in a display of the major strengths and weaknesses of each system. This information will be the framework for the Model County Permit System presented in Chapter IV.
Why Rio Blanco, Converse and Emery?
The case studies chosen represent three different "levels" of approaches in dealing with energy development related socio-economic impacts. Pd.o Blanco County, Colorado represents a situation where multiple energy development has demanded a more structured and functional permit regulation. Converse County, Wyoming somewhat less pressured from energy development, has taken a less intense approach, but has engaged an Energy Impact Task Force to define impacts and appropriate mitigations. Emery County, Utah is an


-53-
example of many situations in the West where local officials are just beginning to consider mechanisms for controlling energy development impacts.
In all three cases, the reader should keep in mind that the relative "age of these county permit systems are between three and five years. Therefore, as stated before, county permit systems are evolving along with the intensity of energy proposals in the West.
I. Rio Blanco County, Colorado -Background/Overview
Rio Blanco County is located in northwest Colorado, approximately 150 miles from Denver. (See Figure 9) The County's two major communities, Meeker and Rangely, are connected by one transportation corridor, State Route 64; State Highway 13/789 connects Interstate 70 with Meeker, the County Seat, while Highway 139 provides access to and from Rangely and Grand Junction, the major urban center in western Colorado. The remainder of the County is virtually "isolated" from the rest of the State.
As "isolated" as the County appears by merely glancing at a road map, this County and the rest of northwest Colorado has become the nucleus of attention for the production of domestic energy supplies. In the past, an economic base of cattle, sheep and crops characterized the county as rural and typical of the Western "quality of life." However, in the past decade the rich mineral and energy resources of this County has brought dramatic change to its communities. This change can be catagorized into three major
areas:


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1. An evolution of a "new" energy source (oil shale) which has stimulated major oil company interest in Rio Blanco County,
2. A change in projections and perceptions as to how rapidly the county will (and should) grow in response to energy development, and
3. A change in the Countys approach in dealing with energy related impacts, namely the Countys development of their conditional permit system.
These three areas are discussed below.
/
New Energy Technology and Development
The first area which has stimulated interest in the County is 'the 'discovery of a relatively new source of energy, oil shale. Although~oil shale technology has existed since the early 1900s, the focus on this energy source became renewed with the Arab oil embargo of 1973 and the resultant drive to become more energy independent.
The Piceance Creek Basin (Figure 9) is estimated to contain
42
some of the richest deposits of oil shale in the world. Although not totally contained within Rio Blanco County, the numerous synthetic fuel projects slated for northwest Colorado will have dramatic effects on the towns of Meeker and Rangely. However, before describing in general some of the changes projected from the oil shale industry, it is important to recognize that many other energy resources have similar implications for the County, as described by one Department of Energy source:


WYOMING
Fi^urf* 9
rlo bianco county
'f


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There is already considerable coal, uranium and oil and gas activity (here)...in 1973, northwest Colorado accounted for 13.3 million tons, or 94% of the States coal production. In addition, in 1978, Rio Blanco County alone produced 21.7 million barrels, or 59% of Colorado's petroleum and holds more than half of the State's oil reserves... the County4^.lso produced 16% of the State's natural gas total.
These other energy resources and their associated impacts
(excluding oil shale) have always been difficult to predict due
to the changing plans of industry; however, the State Department
of Natural Resources estimates that over 60,000 new residents
44
will move into northwest Colorado by the year 2000. As an
example of this growth, an underground coal project slated for
Rangely would double its current population of 2500 in the next
45
five to eight years.
Change in Perceptions and Projections "
The oil shale industry has perhaps contributed more to the
change of perceptions as to how and at what rate Rio Blanco County
should grow as a result of the need for domestic supplies of energy.
Oil shale development has been "on-again-off-again" for the past
decade, frustrating local officials who are attempting to prepare
for increased growth. Figure 10, developed in 1975, illustrates
these various projected levels of growth through the mid 1980's.
Although somewhat outdated, these projections account for a level
of oil shale production between 400-750,000 barrels per day (BPD).
The most recent proposal is from the Exxon Oil Company, placing one
and a half million people in the region by 2010. The impact of
Exxon's proposed eight million BPD oil shale production on Rio
Blanco County is difficult to predict; however, one source predicts
that Rangely would have to accommodate over 400,000 people by the 46
year 2010.


POPULATION
18000
17000
16000
15000
14000
13000
12000
11000
10000
eooo
8000
7000
6000
16bO
w
,<00 V .uklO*

17866
o"-
V / V*'-1 16381
\ / -l*'4 < C000'
\ / .*1*'* ^
V
1547V 01V ***
\oi
,o/1i
12000
0000
7047
10/10/71
- 7o*0iT""* 0,1
4H*tt I
5000
4000
3000
2000
Figure 10:
The purpose of this Figure is to illustrate the variety of projections which the County must deal with when making decisions on particular energy development proposals.
1000
1075 78 77 78 70 80 81
82 S3 84 85 86 87 88
FIGURE 1 YEAR
Source:
COMPARATIVE POPULATION PROJECTIONS - RIO BLANCO COUNTY
(For illustration purposes, numbers are not absolute)


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Change in County Approach to Energy Development Proposals
Whether or not these projections hold true, the talk of oil shale development has stimulated the County to create a more definitive approach in dealing with energy development and its resultant impacts. The "history" of the County's attempt to control its own destiny dates back to 1974 when five Citizen Advisory Committees were formed to aid in the development of a County Master Plan. A series of public awareness activities produced the Plan in 1976 which outlined over two dozen policies and programs designed to guide public officials in development and growth decision making. Some examples of these policies are:
-Coordinate County planning and zoning with that of Rangely and Meeker,
-Avoid negative aspects of random scattered urban development,
-Require and provide for location of heavy industrial areas to eliminate conflict with urban and prime agricultural areas, functionally, visually or environmentally,
-Maintain County involvement regarding mineral development decisions on both public and private lands, including zoning, development standards and taxation,
-Permit residential or other development only when physical, social and economic suitability of the site has been demonstrated by the developer,
-Establish a growth monitoring system to assist the County Planning Office in problem identification and problem solving, including housing, and
-The Planning Commission and Planning Department should develop policies relating to the right of recovery, tap fees, developer contributions to new public facilities, etc., aimed at causing growth to pay a fair share of its own cost. Such polices are to be coordinated with governmental entities.


-57
In response to these policies, and in particular the last one mentioned, the County developed the Rio Blanco County Impact Regulation, which was in effect the County's first real attempt to manage socio-economic impacts related to energy development. Before describing this regulation and the permit system which resulted from it, it is useful to understand the authority for the County's permit process.
Enabling Legislation
The Rio Blanco County's Impact Regulation applies to any project, development or proposal which is the subject of:
1. An amendment to the Zoning Map
2. Granting of Conditional Use
3. Variance
4. Building Permit
5. Subdivision Plat
6. Installation of Sewage Lines, and 48
7. Permit for development in areas of "State interest."
The first six areas derive their authority from various portions of Colorado Land Use Control Enabling Legislation including CRS, 1973, 31-23-302, which provides local government the authority to zone and regulate land use in the best interest of public health,
safety and welfare. The County also is authorized to adopt land use
49
controls under Colorado House Bill 1034. The seventh item on the
list, application of the Impact Regulation to areas of State interest,
derives its authority from House Bill 1041, which outlines a detailed
process for identification of lands considered to possess special
qualities or characteristics. These areas include geologic hazard
areas, historical sites and "areas...in which development may have
.50
a material effect upon the...surrounding community.


-58-
A1though both House Bill 1034 and 1041 have been criticized for their lack of specificity in granting powers to local governments,
Rio Blanco County has perceived this legislation as enabling County officials to implement their Impact Regulation. The procedures, contents and structure of the County permit system is defined in the following section.
Contents and Structure of the County Permit System
The Rio Blanco County Impact Regulation was designed to "regulate the use of land on the basis of impact on the county and its
51
communities in accordance with the County Comprehensive Plan..."
The regulation applies to all territorial jurisdictions in the County lying outside of municipal boundaries. The Regulation establishes that no project may be approved until the Planning Director approves the processing of the project application or until the Planning Commission determines that:
a. No Impact Analysis Statement need be filed due to the absence of any apparent significant adverse impact, or
b. based on the information contained in the Impact Analysis Statement, the proposed project will not adversely affect public services, activities or policies described in the County Comprehensive Plan.52
The determination of "significant adverse impact" is defined in terms of population growth resulting from the project: any project resulting in a gain/loss in the Countys current population of
1.25$ or a shift of population within the County of 1.25$ would be
53
considered to constitute potential significant impact. Adverse impacts are defined in the Regulation as a reduction of the quality or the increase in cost of providing public services. It is also


defined in terms of the project's environmental impacts on areas including air, water, noise and wildlife.
Upon receipt of an application from an energy company, the Planning Director reviews its contents and makes the preliminary determination of significant impact. (Figure 11) If the Director finds no significant issues associated with the project, the application is then processed in accordance with the appropriate county regulations, allowing the applicant to file for county permits.
These may include a building permit, re-zoning permit or special use permit.
The Planning Director reports his finding to the Planning Commission within thirty days whereupon the Commission makes a "threshold decision" as to whether or not the energy company will have to file an Impact Analysis Statement. If the Commission finds that the project will create significant impact, it then specifies a list of eight items which must be addressed by the company in the Impact Statement. These items may include: impact on schools, hospitals, social services, housing, utility services and area property values. The Commission must also identify policies in the Comprehensive Plan which the company must respond to.
The "threshold decision" made by the Planning Commission must be made at a public hearing. If an Impact Statement is required, the company submits this Statement along with a fee to cover the processing. The Planning Director circulates the Statement to all persons or agencies having an interest in the project. The Regulation states that, as a minimum, all County public agencies must respond to the Statement within 45 days and shall determine the


FIGURE 11
RIO BLANCO COUNTY PERMIT SYSTEM
Option
to
Appeal 10 Days


-60-
effect (cost) of the project on County services, the estimated
County and district tax revenues to be contributed by the project,
and any additional County, municipal or district sources of revenue
which may compensate the cost of providing services to increased
55
growth related to the project. If the Planning Director does not receive any comments from local service entities, he must assume, according to the Regulation, that no significant impact is to occur.
Within 60 days after the Impact Analysis Statement is filed with the Director, the Planning Commission holds a public hearing to solicit opinions as to the statement's contents and conclusions.
After this hearing, the Commission has three options:
1. to determine that there will be no adverse impact based on the findings of the statement (thereby allowing the applicant to proceed in obtaining county permits),
2. to determine that significant impact will occur, which then denies the applicant with the "go-ahead" to apply for and receive County permits, and/or
3. to conditionally approve the project subject to "addition^ measures designed to mitigate adverse impacts."
The applicant has ten days to appeal the Planning Commission's decision to the County Commissioners. A public hearing is held on the appeal and the Commissioners then make the final decision on the applicant's proposal.
Contents of the Impact Analysis Statement
The contents of the Impact Analysis Statement is the crux of the Impact Regulation and the Rio Blanco County's permitting process. The Statement is to include a description of:


-61-
1. the proposed project and development schedule,
2. the impact, both short and long term, on those services, areas and issues described by the Planning Commission in their "threshold decision,"
3. the impact of the project on services, activities and issues which the applicant may select.
4. any additional issue selected by the Planning Commission,
5. any mitigations which might be proposed by the applicant to reduce or eliminate adverse impact.
These mitigations must include sufficient detail to enable the Commission to determine their adequacy and insure that the applicant will effectually mitigate impacts, and
5 7
6. alternatives to the proposed project.
Through the Impact Analysis Statement, the applicant is required to define impacts as well as mitigations related to the proposed project. After all of the public service entities have reviewed the Statement, the County and the applicant are in a position to "negotiate" over appropriate mitigations. The County then has the power to condition its approval of the project based on the Impact Analysis Statement, the input received from affected parties and the negotiation process.
A partial example of an Impact Analysis Statement is presented in Appendices C. Here, Rio Blanco Oil Shale Company proposes a host of mitigations to offset the impact of housing in Meeker. Through the Countys Impact Regulation, the issue of housing, among others, must be resolved with the County prior to allowing the company to proceed in obtaining County permits. This particular case is the Countys first formally submitted Impact Statement and will prove to test the County's process. According to the County Planner, the


-62-
company has been "more than willing" to work with the County to
arrive at a reasonable mitigation plan and has not challenged the
58
County's authority or permit process.
Other Features
There are other features of the Rio Blanco County permit system
which makes their situation unique. First, the Regulation's intent
is to "review and conduct hearings in accordance with all County
59
laws simultaneously when possible. Therefore, the County does have a stated mechanism for coordination. Second, if there is another statement or document prepared for another agency which the Planning Commission finds adequate to meet their requirements, they may wave the Impact Analysis Statement; however, the Commission still reserves the right to condition its approval of the project. Third, the County has the right to wave the process if the company and County can agree on conditions from the start. For example, a coal company north of Meeker agreed prior to the formal initiation of the County process to pre-pay its severance taxes, thereby providing the town and County with front-end money for impact mitigation.
An additional feature of the County permit process is the existence of a County Impact Mitigation Task Force. The Task Force was established in 1977 for the purpose of establishing priorities for Oil Shale Trust Fund requests. The group is divided into three groups; a Core Group, and an Eastern and Western Advisory Group.
The activities of the Task Force are coordinated by an Impact Coordinator, whose function is to convey funding priorities to the State Legislature and to the County Commissioners.


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In the past, the Task Force and the Impact Coordinator have not been directly involved in the permit process; however, as more energy development proposals are presented to the County, participation in the process has increased. For example, the Rio Blanco Oil Shale Company's Impact Analysis Statement has been submitted to the Task Force for their review and comment. Since the Task Force is composed of representatives of the service districts and municipal officials, the comments submitted by this group has some weight. There also is currently a move by the Western Advisory group to
become more actively involved in developing mitigations for a pro-
60
posed mine and power plant in the vicinity of Rangely. Although not formally proposed, this movement by the Western Group may signify, a more active role of the Task Force in the permit process.
In summary, the Rio Blanco County permit system is defined by their Impact Regulation. The Regulation itself does not grant or deny a development permit; however, through the Impact Analysis Statement, the Planning Commission determines whether or not the energy company can proceed in obtaining necessary development permits. The Commission also has the power to stipulate this decision, based on the Impact Statement. Although there is no formal involvement of the Impact Mitigation Task Force in the process, its role is evolving and may increase with time.
By way of review, the major features of the Countys permit process is as follows:
1. The Impact Regulation defines the Countys authority to require an assessment of impacts and mitigations


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for all development causing potential adverse significant impact to the County and its municipalities.
2. The Regulation defines the time limit for review and decision making, and who will make final decision. (Planning Commission unless appealed to County Commissioners)
3. There is some opportunity for public review and comment of the decision making process.
4. The Regulation defines the content of the Impact Analysis Statement and when such statement will be prepared.
5. The County seeks to maximize coordination through combining, where appropriate, reviews by public service districts and requirements for public hearings.
6. The decisions made by the Planning Commission are to be based from the County Comprehensive Plan.
The applicant is also to address the Plan in the Impact Analysis Statement.
7. The Planning Commission has the authority to condition its decisions based on the analysis of impacts and mitigations. This authority encourages all major issues to be resolved prior to the company receiving development permits.


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These features, along with others, have been analyzed using the criteria presented in Chapter II. This analysis is displayed in matrix form illustrating the strengths and weaknesses of Rio Elanco County's permit process. (Figure 12) The proceeding section is a discussion of these strengths and weaknesses.
Results of Analysis; Major Strengths and Weaknesses Strengths:
There are three major areas of strength contributing to the Rio Blanco County permit system, as defined by the criteria:
1. the. Jmpact. RcyjjJbathon -LtaeJLf <"6. thed -to ahb pe.rmLt-$. requirad by. the. County.,
2. th.e. SmpacA Jtnaty.ihi>. StaZejneot. ahiowii. for do cam me-ntatton of- docto-eoonomLc. Cmpact-a dhreaZAy. rotated to an e.ne.rgy. de.weAopme.nt propo aaA, and
3. the. SmpacA keoutatton prowtde,-b. a wehtcAe. for ne.g.othaZAon betwe.e.n the. e.ne.rgy. compaixy. and the. county, over what tmpact mLALgatton-ii. ihouAd and wtZA be. provided by. the. company...
The first mentioned benefit of the County permit system is that the Impact Regulation is directly tied to all of the County's permits required for development. The Regulation states explicitly that all developers must first clear their proposal with the Planning Director, whose job it is to determine if significant impacts will occur from the project. This procedure applies not only to energy companies, but to housing projects, shopping centers, utility installation, etc. The purpose of the Regulation is to


FIGURE 12
RIO BLANCO COUNTV PERMIT SYSTEM
Major Features of System
A. PERMIT
APPLICATION
B. IMPACT REGULATION
C. IMPACT ANALYSIS
D. IMPACT
MITIGATION
CRITERIA
I. Application for Permit -Standard and Consistent
Standard Forms*
II. Review Process -Clear to Applicant and participants -Time Limits/
Due Process -Intergovernment Coordination
Contents of IAS defined in review process*
Waiver Loophole Contents of IAS
can be misinterpreted- allows for Impact
Analysis*
Time limtts/Due Process*
Agencies "required" to participate*
III. Who Participates?
-Planning Commission:
Reviews Proposal against known criteria
Solicits other opinions
Consistent Decision Making
-Planning Director
Identifies Significant Issues
-Impact Analysis
Coordination
Monitor/Update
-County Commissioners
Balance of Interests
-Impact Coordinator
Role Clearly Defined
Coordinates Impact Analysis
Coordinator: Government and Industry
-Impact Task Force
Adaquate Representation
Consistent Decision Making
Role Defined
-Other Opportunities Tor Public Participation
Conducts Independent review of IAS*
First review of permit application*
No relationship to permit review-
Documents Threshold Decision* Lack of criteria for
dedsions-
Recomends action to Sets contents for IAS*
Planning Commission*
Involved in process only if Planning Commission's decision is appealed-
Role not defined in Informal role in
regulation- IAS review -
No role in review of IAS-
Public Participation required in regulation*
Built into Permit Process*
Directly involved in impact mitiga--tion*
Involved in permit conditions*
Final judge if conditions appealed
Infernal role in permit conditioning
No rile in permit conditioning-
IV. Local Statutes/Authority
-Adequate Authority for Permit System
-Goals/Objectives reflected in Permit System
-Decisions based on Comprehensive and other plans
HB 1034 and others sited for authority*
Applicant must consider Other plans not
County Comprehensive Plan* considered in designing miti-gations-
V. Other Functions
-Binding Conditions
-Conditions Monitored
Binding of conditions not defined-
-Permit process monitored
Process not monitored-
Conditions not required by regulation to be monitored-
KEY:
+ Strengths > Weakness
IAS Impact Analysis Statement


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determine what issues and impacts must be resolved before County-permits are granted. Therefore, the Impact Regulation is not an end to itself, but it is a means by which all County permits can be issued or denied based on sound decisions.
Another advantage of the Impact Regulation is that it allows for inter-governmental cooperation and consistency. This is accomplished by the Planning Director soliciting comments from all public entities potentially affected by the energy project. The Regulation states that if comments are not received, the Commissioners have a right to assume that no impacts will occur to that service district. This "pressures" service representatives to become involved in the process with the implication that one should Mspeak up now or forever hold your* peace.
In addition to the Regulation being tied to County permits, it is also tied to the County Comprehensive Plan. The Regulation states explicitly that decisions will be made using the Plan and that the applicant must acknowledge the Plan's policies in the Impact Analysis Statement. Therefore, both the applicant and the participants in the process understand the Plan is a working document to be used in the decision making process.
The second area of strength of the County's system is the Impact Analysis Statement itself. The Statement is a vehicle by which impacts and mitigations can be defined from both the applicant's and public sector's perspective. Since the Planning Commission establishes the major issues to be covered by the Statement, there is some control as to what information is expected from the applicant. The Statement then gives public officials as well as


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the public at large the opportunity to seriously discuss the proposal rather than speculate as to what the implications of the project are. The Statement also allows the applicant to propose specific mitigations, rather than the County acting first in "demanding" assistance from the private sector.
The third advantage of the system is also tied to the Impact Analysis Statement. The Statement allows a process for negotiation between County and company. Since the Planning Commission holds the leverage in determining if the company shall proceed with obtaining its permits, the Commission is in a position to seriously discuss with the company appropriate impact mitigations. The power to condition their approval also allows the Planning Commission to negotiate with the company. According to the Planning Director, the "informal" policy of the County is to work out mitigations through
the Impact Analysis process rather than through stipulations, however,
61
the leverage is there if required.
As stated before, the Impact Regulation and its process is "on the frontier" in terms of its effectiveness in developing impact mitigations. Overall, it appears to be a workable process, although some problems can be identified, as explained below.
Weaknesses
There are three major weaknesses in the Rio Blanco County permit system:
1. th.e. op.p.orLu,nLtLo.tv f~or fiu.bZLc. p.a.rtLcLpxzLLo n are u/oxzh.,
2. Lho. bu.ircLe.n. o-f £h.e. iaj.iJl.QjrL Liv on Lho. P-lxzn.rvLn.g- Com mLivivLon, rat/aer thxzn on th.o. Cou.nLu CommLi.i*Lono.riv, czncL


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3. tho. u/aLwar machxznLAm -Ln tine, RQjy.uJjcJcLo n. -La c.onfru-ALng. and may. a-L-Lou/ {-or abuAa.
The first listed disadvantage of the County's process is that, although there are several opportunities for the public to comment on the proposal at formal public hearings, this provision does not really encourage the public to become involved in the decision making process. There is no formal Citizen's Advisory Committee responding to the proposal and providing input to the decisions made by the Planning Commission. The County's Impact Mitigation Task Force would provide a mechanism for this involvement in that it represents public service entities as well as members of the general public.
As will be shown in another case study, the Task Force can act as a "sounding board" for the Planning Commission's decisions. As it stands now, the public is merely reacting to the applicant's proposal, rather than interacting with the decision makers.
The second weakness of the system is that the Planning Commission has the burden of negotiating and stipulating, rather than the County Commissioners. This structure may be potentially dangerous in that the Commissioners may be forced, through the appeal process, to disqualify the Planning Commission's decisions causing strained relationships in the future. This system also assumes that the Planning Commission has the necessary power and expertise to execute decisions on complex energy development proposals. The County Commissioners, as elected officials, may be in a better position to make final decisions on these proposals, thereby being held responsible to the electorate for their decisions.


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The third mentioned weakness is related to the waiver clause in the permit process. Although not defined in the Impact Regulation itself, the County Planner explained that if an energy developer
approaches the County with a "suitable" mitigation plan, the Rsgula-
6 2
tion may be waived and permits may be granted. This informal process of negotiation, without public participation, may lead to abuse and distrust of the County's system. It assumes that the process of careful evaluation of impacts and mitigations can be by-passed and negotiations can take place "behind closed doors."
This also assumes that the Planning Director and/or the County Commissioners can make decisions regardless of the involvement of the Planning Commission, the service entities and the public. Therefore, the waiver of the Impact Regulation should always be based on the significance of the impacts, rather than any pre-disposal of the system based on private negotiations.
One final point in this discussion of weaknesses is the current charge being made that the County's process is "obstructionary" to energy development. For example, one energy developer in Rangely has begun to work exclusively with town officials rather than discussing impact mitigation with the County. Recent editorials in the "Rangely Times" have also "accused" the County of delaying
energy development in a time when the town has prepared itself for 6 3
such growth. These instances point to the lack of understanding of the County Impact Regulation process. They also may signify lack of dialogue between County and the community as to what the permit process can achieve. Again, the benefit of formally engaging


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the Task Force in the County's decision making process may help to eliminate these fears. (The mayors from both Meeker and Rangely sit on the Task Force.)
As the Rio Blanco County permit process evolves, these weaknesses along with others cited in the matrix, should be eliminated.
As it exists today, there is no formal mechanism to evaluate the effectiveness of the system by County officials. However, public opinion may cause the County to reassess the purpose for enacting the Impact Regulation and may make some changes in its procedures.
The overriding philosophy, however, of defining impacts and creating a local mechanism for stipulating mitigations, should remain intact.
II. Converse County, Wyoming
The second case study area, Converse County, Wyoming, is located
in the eastern portion of the State, directly south of the City of
Gillette. (Figure 13) Its major communities are Douglas and Glen-
rock. The current population of the County is around 14,500 and,
with recent energy developments (coal, uranium and bentonite), the
county has increased in size about 6 percent per year and is expected
1 64
to continue at this rate of growth. As with most energy rich counties in the West, Converse County is experiencing a transition of rural-agricultural based economy to one of a more urbanized energy development future.
Mining employment has doubled in the past decade and is expected to comprise over 20 percent of the countys workforce by 1990.^ The County has prepared itself for growth and development in a number of ways, the major one being the formation of a development permit process and County Energy Impact Task Force. The


-Converse county
o o


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Task Force was created in 1979 and is composed of the following representatives:
-Mayor of Douglas and Glenrock, Wyoming -School Districts -Health Services
-Two of the three County Commissioners -Planning Directors (non voting)
The purpose of this group, to be further explained, is to gather information on expected impacts from energy proposals and to develop an impact mitigation plan. The plan is given to the County Commissioners for their use in granting, denying or conditioning County permits.
The County permit process is not unlike many other counties in the country. It relies heavily on standard subdivision and zoning ordinances to regulate the quantity and quality of proposed land uses. What does make the Countys system unique is its relation ship to the Energy Impact Task Force and its inter-relationship with the State of Wyomings Industrial Siting Act. Before discussing these two aspects in detail, the Countys development permit process is presented.
Development Permit Process
In 1975, the Wyoming legislature granted local governments in the State the power to prepare and adopt subdivision and development regulations. (Section 18-5-301 through 315). Converse County, in its granted powers to protect the health, safety and welfare of its residents, adopted these regulations in March, 1976. These regulations establish standard criteria for developers in the County,


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including platting requirements, design standards and procedures for reviewing development proposals. The County's regulations grant the Planning Commission the power to condition plan approvals after review by appropriate officials and the public.
The County's Development Regulation outlines the review process for permit applications and establishes the role of the Planning Commission, County Commissioners and Planning Director. (Figure 14) However, since the adoption of this Regulation, the Energy Impact Task Force was created. Essentially, when an energy company approaches the County with an energy development proposal, it is directed first to the Energy Coordinator, who acts as "staff" for the Task Force.
The Energy Coordinator is responsible for gathering specific information as to the socio-economic impact of a project on the County and its communities. He does this by meeting with each member of the Task Force, briefing them on the proposal and helping them to define the increased demands on public services as a result of growth and development. He then reports to the group as a whole and the County Commissioners. The Task Force meets monthly to collect and further discuss impact information. Once these impacts have been defined, the Energy Coordinator acts as an informal "mediator" between the energy company and members of the Task Force in designing a mitigation plan.
As an example of this procedure, NERCO, Inc., a coal developer, has proposed the construction and operation of a coal mine north of the city of Douglas. The Company was instructed to work with the Task Force in defining impacts prior to submitting their formal application for County permits. After extensive impact analysis


FIGURE 14
CONVERSE COUNTY PERMIT SYSTEM


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was conducted, demands on public services were defined. These included an increased need for City sanitation equipment, a need to add administrative space, and sewer additions in Douglas. The process of mediation between the Task Force and NERCO is conducted through the Energy Coordinator, who, by the instructions of the Task Force, encourages the company to commit itself to an impact mitigation plan.
The Task Force acts as one "voice" and will not recommend approval of the project until the mitigations are agreed upon.
Since two-thirds of the County Commissioners sit on the Task Force, the mitigation package is, in theory, represented in the permit process. According to the County Planner, the legal relationship between the County's Development Regulation and the Task Force has not been established; however, the presence of the Commissioners on the Task Force gives added weight to the group's decisions. Once the Task Force completes its review process of the proposal, the Development Regulation permit process begins as outlined in Figure 14.
As illustrated, the Task Force is the starting point for the energy company in Converse County. After an agreeable mitigation package is worked out by the Energy Coordinator, a recommendation is passed from the Task Force to the Planning Commission. Since the Planning Director acts as a non-voting member of the Task Force and the County Commissioners are formally involved in the group's recommendation, mitigations are directly tied to the permit process. The developers application is then reviewed by the Planning Commission for conformance with County regulations whereupon the Commission


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passes tentative approval or disapproval of the proposal. Although not specifically stated, it is implied that public meetings are held to assist the Commission in its tentative decision. The Plannina
CP
Commission may place conditions on their approval prior to the ajoplication' s referral to the County Commissioners for final approval.
There is a difference of opinion as to how the recommended mitigations are and can legally be incorporated into the permit process. Although the County Planner feels that the Planning Commission must be responsible only to the County Development Regulation, it is acknowledged that the power to condition permits is
available and that these conditions may be linked directly to the
6 6
Task Force recommendations. It is doubtful in the short run that the Regulation will be amended to give the County Commissioners explicit powers to condition permits based on advice received from the Task Force; however, as stated before, the "linkage" is implied simply by the structure of the group.
The criteria used by the Planning Commission in approving and denying energy development proposals comes from the Development Regulation itself and also the policies established in the Countys Land Use Plan. In June of 1978, the County Commissioners adopted this Plan inventorying and outlining County policies for areas such as natural resources, historic preservation, management of public lands and transportation. In response to energy development, the Countys policies state:
"Where mineral development is increasing demands on County facilities, industry should participate in...


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improvements. Industry should address the housing needs ox its nermanent employees prior to starting operations.
In terms of population growth and settlement the Countys current policy is to limit growth to existing urban areas or to designate growth to rural centers.^
This policy is taken seriously by energy developers. For
example, NERCO has a "consistent policy to house all of its
temporary and permanent employees in Converse County...although
(their) proposed mine is in reasonably close proximity to communi-
69
ties in a neighboring county." .NERCO, through its policy of directing its workers to live in existing centers in Converse County has acknowledged the Countys goals and objectives and is apparently willing to work with them.
Although the County permit process may appear to be self contained and functional, there is another "actor" in the permit system,
i.e., the Wyoming Industrial Siting Administration, as discussed below.
Wyoming Industrial Development Information and Siting Act and Administration
On June 1, 1975, the Wyoming Industrial Development Information
and Siting Act became effective for the purpose of protecting the
natural environment and mitigating negative socio-economic impacts
70
of natural resource and industrial development. The Act established a seven person council, appointed by the Governor, to make decisions on permit applications submitted by energy (and other) developers. The Council, although not empowered to select sites for development, can pass judgment on selected sites, impose