Boulder County oil, gas moratorium extended again
Boulder County’s commissioners on Tuesday extended their moratorium on oil and gas development again, this time until May 1.
Planners and the county attorney’s office need more time to complete research and draft regulations the commissioners said back in November that they wanted to consider, said Kim Sanchez, chief planner in the Land Use Department’s development review division.
More time is also needed to give the staff time to develop a plan for implementing the new oil and gas development rules and restrictions, once they are adopted, Sanchez said.
Commissioner Elise Jones said it is “absolutely critical” to have adequate regulations in place when the county begins accepting applications for drilling wells, producing oil and gas, and locating pipelines and other oil and gas facilities in unincorporated parts of the county.
Jones also said that most of the comments the county has received about the proposed new regulations — and about permitting oil and gas development to resume, under stricter county conditions — have been from “people saying ban it” or from residents calling on the county to keep extending its moratoriums.
“But we don’t really have that authority in the state of Colorado,” commissioner Deb Gardner said.
Given last May’s Colorado Supreme Court decisions overturning Fort Collins’ voter-approved fracking moratorium and Longmont’s voter-approved fracking ban, however, Jones said it is important for Boulder County to replace regulations she said are inadequate with the strictest local rules it can.
Boulder County’s original moratorium was imposed in February 2012 and has been extended several times. The current moratorium, set by the commissioners on Nov. 15, was to expire Jan. 31.
Gardner said May 1 felt “pretty optimistic” for completing the work.
A public hearing on the proposed regulations was set for March 14.