Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

Commissioners extend oil and gas moratorium to July 2020


March 11, 2020

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The hold on oil & gas exploration in Boulder County was extended by the Board of Commissioners until July 2020.

Last year, the Boulder County Commissioners enacted a moratorium on oil and gas development in the county. This came as a result of Crestone Peak Resources' 2018 proposal for a drilling project that would span a 1.5 mile stretch of Highway 52 and could include up to 140 wells, which would drain 10 square miles of underground deposits.

Surrounding residents rose up in opposition of the proposal and, on June 28, 2019, Boulder County initiated an emergency moratorium that banned all new oil and gas developments until March 2020. Over the past nine months, local grassroots groups including The Lookout Alliance, 350 Colorado, and Colorado Rising, hosted panels, discussions, and attended bureaucratic meetings to voice their concerns-health, safety, and economic-about the current state of oil and gas development in Boulder and Weld counties.

On March 2, the Board of County Commissioners voted to extend the moratorium until July 31, 2020. Following a staff presentation and input from the public, BOCC determined that the public required more time to read, understand, and comment on the draft of new oil and gas development regulations put together by the staff. This extension also gives residents time to focus on major rule changes being drafted by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission through May 2020.

Senate Bill 19-181 granted more power to local authorities regarding oil and gas development and, while proposed changes have come under much review, Commissioner Elise Jones explained, "We are not going to be able to do this justice or allow for adequate public review for these updated regulations under the current schedule, so I think this is a great case for extending the moratorium to July 31."

According to BOCC Chair Deb Gardner, public testimony was and continues to be extremely helpful throughout the rewrite process. "We appreciate the fact that people who have spent so much time helping us refine and improve our regulations have asked us for more time to review what we know will be a very complex and involved set of regulations."

The next hearing will take place on Monday, April 6 at 4 pm before the Boulder County Planning Commission. It is anticipated that the Planning Commission will receive public testimony on the proposed regulations, but will take no action on the proposed regulations until a later date. Since these hearings are expected to be highly attended, those wishing to give public testimony must sign up ahead of time, on-line, at http://www.bouldercounty.org.


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