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News Archive

July 14, 2020

Boulder County Commissioners extend oil and gas moratorium in order to complete review of new regulations

A new schedule for updating oil and gas regulations extends Boulder County’s moratorium through December 31, 2020


Boulder County, Colo. - The Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) extended the existing moratorium on accepting and processing new oil and gas development applications and on seismic testing through December 31, 2020.

A moratorium is in place to give staff time to review and update the county’s oil and gas regulations in light of the changes made to local authority by Senate Bill 19-181. The County’s update process will include public comment and hearings before the Boulder County Planning Commission and the Board of County Commissioners. The previously set schedule for review of the regulations was vacated due to COVID-19.

At a public hearing held virtually on July 14, County staff announced a new schedule for public review of revisions to Article 12 of the Boulder County Land Use Code addressing oil and gas development in unincorporated Boulder County.

The new timeline contemplates finalization of regulations in December 2020 and allows staff and the public to focus on important “Mission Change” rulemakings at the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) that are occurring through October (COGCC rulemaking hearings are currently scheduled August 24-September 10 and September 28-October 9).

Public comments received by the County Commissioners in advance of the hearing widely supported extending the moratorium.


Boulder County Commissioner comments

It's critical we extend the oil and gas moratorium to make sure we have the most protective rules possible for people and the environment. We need to make the most of the increased local control in the new state law, and with the pandemic, we need to take the time to get it right.

- Boulder County Commissioner Vice-Chair Matt Jones

With the covid-19 pandemic slowing everything down, we simply need more time to ensure we get our regulations right. Extending our moratorium on new oil and gas development to the year’s end is both responsible and necessary in order to fulfill our duty to our constituents. They deserve the strongest possible protections and a pause on any applications until those are in place.

- Board of County Commissioners Elise Jones

With too much still unknown about what the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission will do this fall with its new rules and how those might affect our local regulations, it doesn’t make sense to rush finalization of our regulations or lift the moratorium until we know we have the best possible regulations we can put in place.

- Board of County Commissioners Chair Deb Gardner


An initial draft of the updated regulations was posted to the County oil and gas website (https://boco.org/oilgas) on March 6, 2020 and is available for review and comment. A second draft will be published prior to the first Planning Commission hearing.

Upcoming Public Meetings

The anticipated new schedule for review of the updated oil and gas regulations is as follows (all meetings are open to the public and will be held virtually):

  • June – October – County staff create new draft regulations based on public input and participate in Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) “Mission Change” Rulemaking Process. (COGCC Hearings are currently scheduled August 24-September 10 (200-600 Series) and September 28-October 9 (800-1200 Series))
  • Tuesday, October 13 at 4 p.m. – Public hearing for Planning Commission to receive public testimony on the proposed oil and gas regulations. Public testimony only; no action by Planning Commission.
  • Thursday, October 15 at 4 p.m. – Public meeting for Planning Commission discussion and recommendation to the Board of County Commissioners or direction to staff to modify
  • (If necessary) Tuesday, October 27 at 4 p.m. – Planning Commission public proceedings continued, if needed.
  • (If necessary) Thursday, October 29 at 4 p.m. – Planning Commission public proceedings continued, if needed.
  • Tuesday, November 17, 2020 at 4 p.m. – Public hearing for the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) to receive public testimony on the proposed oil and gas regulations. Public testimony only; no action by BOCC.
  • Thursday, November 19, 2020 at 5 p.m.– Public meeting for BOCC discussion. Adoption of regulations or direction to staff to modify regulations. No additional public testimony.
  • (If necessary) Thursday, December 3 at 4 p.m. - BOCC public proceedings continued, if needed.
  • (If necessary) Thursday, December 10 at 4 p.m. - BOCC public proceedings continued, if needed.
  • (If necessary) Tuesday, December 15 at 4 p.m. - BOCC public proceedings continued, if needed.
  • December 31, 2020 – Revised end of moratorium.

Updates to the schedule will be posted on the County’s Oil & Gas website (https://boco.org/oilgas). In addition to participating at Planning Commission and Board of County Commissioner hearings, comments and information can be emailed to oilgascomment@bouldercounty.org.


Screenshot from the live public hearing

Screenshot from the live public hearing July 14, 2020