Boulder County considers oil and gas application updates
The Boulder County Board of Commissioners hoped a public hearing on proposed updates to the county’s oil and gas applications wouldn’t turn into a renewed call for an indefinite extension of a series of moratoria on oil and gas or an outright ban on development.
Things didn’t exactly pan out that way.
Aside from two attorneys — one from the Colorado Attorney General’s Office and one representing the Colorado Oil and Gas Association telling commissioners that parts of the proposed regulations exceed the county’s legal authority — most of the 50 or so people who spoke didn’t mince words. People who spoke to commissioners characterized the oil and gas industry as “agents of death,” “an obsolescent industry … that should be euthanized,” “the devil” and a “monster,” among other unflattering descriptions.
“We are not living in moderate times,” said Boulder County resident Paul Bassis. “The CEO of Exxon Mobil is the secretary of state and the man running the EPA has sued it 14 times to keep it from doing its job.”
County officials say the proposed regulations are comprehensive and designed to protect the health of residents and include them in the process whenever an oil or gas company applies for a permit. An outright ban on fracking, or another extension to moratoria on oil and gas development the county has imposed since 2012, is not in the works, officials say, because two recent Colorado Supreme Court decisions struck down attempts by Longmont and Fort Collins to ban fracking within their city limits.
The state attorney general’s office is suing the county over its most recent moratorium, which expires in May.