Stage 1 fire restrictions, enacted for unincorporated areas of western Boulder County.

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October 24, 2022

Boulder County Commissioners to examine proposal against threat of forced pooling

Extraction Oil & Gas, Inc. seeks to lease Boulder County-owned minerals

Boulder County, Colo. -- At a public hearing on Tuesday, Nov. 1, the Boulder County Commissioners will consider a lease offer for county owned-mineral rights on county open space in unincorporated Boulder County near Longmont along the Weld County border. The public are invited to attend and/or comment in person, online, or by phone. Written comments can also be submitted online.

Lease Offer

Boulder County received a letter from Extraction Oil & Gas, Inc., on July 5, 2022, offering to lease county-owned mineral rights in connection with Extraction’s “Blue Paintbrush” well pad planned in Weld County. According to Extraction’s offer letter, if the county does not agree to lease 552 acres of mineral rights or to accept a working interest in the Blue Paintbrush wells, Extraction will seek a statutory (or “forced”) pooling order from the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC). Extraction filed an application with the COGCC to force pool the county’s minerals on July 7, which is currently set for a hearing Jan. 25, 2023, if the lease offer is declined.

The Blue Paintbrush pad is located approximately 1,000 feet east of the Boulder County line on land over which Boulder County owns a conservation easement. Extraction has permits from the COGCC and Weld County to drill up to 32 wells on the pad. The Blue Paintbrush wells are designed to drill horizontally from the Weld County site to produce oil and gas under four square miles of Boulder County, where the county is the majority mineral owner. Boulder County filed a lawsuit in 2019 arguing that its conservation easement and several existing leases do not allow for the approved drilling, but that suit was unsuccessful.

The county has a long-time practice of not voluntarily leasing its mineral rights for development. However, considering the threat of forced pooling and the significant amounts of land, minerals, and money at stake in this situation, the county will complete a full public process before rendering a decision.

Parks & Open Space Advisory Committee

On Aug. 25, 2022, the Parks & Open Space Advisory Committee (POSAC) considered the lease offer at a public hearing. After a presentation by staff and comments from the public, POSAC voted unanimously to recommend that the Board of County Commissioners decline the offer to lease.

Public Hearing and Comment

On Tuesday, Nov. 1, at 3 p.m., the Board of County Commissioners will consider the lease offer at a public hearing. The hearing will be in a hybrid format where attendees can join through Zoom, by phone, or in person at the Boulder County Courthouse, 3rd Floor, 1325 Pearl Street, Boulder. Individual speaker’s time will be limited to two minutes to be sure all interested parties can participate during the time available. Speakers may pool time, up to 10 minutes, if everyone who wishes to pool time is present. Speakers are requested not to repeat statements made by previous speakers other than to express points of agreement or disagreement.

Attend by Zoom or phone

Register to attend and/or comment online by Zoom or by dialing in from a phone.

Attend in-person

Register to attend and/or comment in person. You can also register at the kiosk outside the Commissioners’ Hearing Room on the day of the hearing.

Written Comment

Interested members of the public are also encouraged to provide written comments by 12 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 31. To provide written comments, complete the online form.

For news and updates on oil and gas development in Boulder County, visit the county’s Oil and Gas webpage. Sign up to receive oil and gas updates from Boulder County.

Blue Paintbrush DSUHeadshots of three current commissioners in horizontal alignment with their names to the right of each photo