July 16, 2019
County commissioners keep moratorium in place on new oil and gas development applications and seismic testing.
The county commissioners took public testimony on July 16 on whether the moratorium should be modified in any way. The moratorium remains in effect until March 28, 2020.
Boulder County, Colo. - At a public hearing on July 16 (video archive), the Board of Boulder County Commissioners (board) reviewed a staff presentation and heard more than three hours of public testimony before reaffirming their decision to enact a temporary moratorium on the acceptance and processing of new oil and gas development applications and seismic testing. The moratorium remains in effect until March 28, 2020.
The 9-month moratorium will allow staff time to research and draft changes to Article 12 of the Land Use Code, Special Review for Oil and Gas Operations in light of the local government authority clarified and expanded by Senate Bill 19-181.
Based on public input, it's clear that Boulder County residents continue to be very concerned about the public health and environmental impacts of oil and gas development. The overwhelming majority of our constituents support us taking the time we need to put into place the strongest possible protections allowed under law – and we have acted accordingly.
- Board of County Commissioners Chair Elise Jones
It's imperative that we take the time needed to explore all of the options made available to us through the passage of SB 181 and that we look for ways to continue to make Boulder County's oil and gas regulations the strongest possible in the protection of our community's health and the environment.
- Board of County Commissioners Vice-Chair Deb Gardner
It is critical we protect the people’s health and the environment in Boulder County to the full extent to the law. That is why it is so important that we impose a drilling and fracking moratorium now. New state laws give local governments more power. We need this time to come up with the best, most protective laws we possibly can. We also encourage residents to also stay involved at the state level to strengthen state laws and regulations on fracking wells.
- Boulder County Commissioner Matt Jones.
At the July 16 hearing, staff outlined a work plan for amending Article 12 that includes research, drafting, stakeholder discussions, public processes, Boulder County Planning Commission hearings, Board of County Commissioner hearings, and staff implementation of the amended regulations as ultimately adopted by the board.
The schedule for the regulation update has not been finalized, but information on public hearing dates will be available on the county's oil and gas website and publicly noticed.
- On April 11, 2017, the Board of County Commissioners adopted Resolution 2017-55 enacting the strongest set of regulations on oil and gas development in the State of Colorado. Since that date, no applications have been filed with the Boulder County Land Use Department to seek a permit for oil and gas development.
- On June 4, 2019, the board authorized a regulation update at a public meeting, directing staff to review new opportunities to further address public health and safety issues related to oil and gas development operations and to address new areas of local government authority granted by SB 19-181.
- On June 28, 2019, the board enacted a temporary moratorium on an emergency basis to provide certainty for county residents, oil and gas operators, and county staff regarding imminent applications to the county for Special Review under Article 12.
- On July 16, 2019, after hearing public testimony and reviewing comments delivered in advance in writing, the board determined not to make any changes to the temporary moratorium as enacted in Resolution 2019-59 at a public meeting on June 28. The moratorium remains in effect until March 28, 2020.