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News Archive

September 27, 2016

Boulder County to review draft oil and gas development regulations

Boulder County to review draft oil and gas development regulations

Planning Commission to review regulations starting Oct. 12; County Commissioners to take up the issue in November


Boulder County, Colo. – Boulder County staff members are drafting updated Special Review regulations for
oil and gas development and will be actively seeking review and comment from
the public, industry representatives, and state agencies.

The Draft Regulations will be posted on the county’s Oil and Gas Development webpage one week prior to the Boulder County Planning Commission’s initial public
hearing to consider the regulations.

“County residents are very concerned about oil and gas development in Boulder County, and we intend to enact regulations that allow us to take a close look at every application that comes in the door and make sure we do everything within our power to protect our residents,” said Board of County Commissioners Vice-Chair, Cindy Domenico.

The draft regulations will reflect direction given to staff by the Board of County Commissioners in May 2016 in response to a Colorado Supreme Court decision that overturned efforts by two Front Range cities to limit oil and gas drilling in the form of hydraulic fracturing.

“Boulder County remains committed to providing the strongest possible protections for our community to help address the adverse air, water, health, and nuisance impacts of oil and gas fracking and development, and we will continue to advocate for giving local residents more control over these impacts in their neighborhoods,” said Board of County Commissioners Chair, Elise Jones.

What: Public Meetings on the Draft Regulations addressing oil and gas
development within the Boulder County Land Use Code

Planning
Commission

  • Wednesday, Oct. 12,
    1:30 p.m.
    Planning Commission public hearing – public comment to be
    taken (limit 3 min. per speaker).
  • Thursday, Oct. 27,
    4 p.m.
    Planning Commission public meeting – no further testimony will be
    taken.

Board of County
Commissioners

  • Tuesday, Nov. 15,
    12 p.m.
    Board of County Commissioners public hearing – public comment to
    be taken. (Note: Online speaker sign-ups will begin Nov. 1. Limit 3 min. per
    speaker)
  • Thursday, Nov. 17
    11 a.m.
    Board of County Commissioners public meeting – no further
    testimony will be taken.

Where: Boulder County Courthouse, third floor, 1325 Pearl St., Boulder

Meeting Details

Land Use staff will present the proposed regulations to
the Planning Commission on Oct. 12 where the Commission will also hear public testimony.
The Planning Commission will then meet on Oct. 27 to deliberate and provide
recommendations to the Board of County Commissioners.

The Board of County Commissioners will hear from Land Use
staff and take public testimony on the regulations on Nov. 15 and reconvene for
a public meeting where they will deliberate and take action on the regulations
on Nov. 17.

Public testimony will be taken at the Oct. 12 and
Nov. 15 public hearings (each speaker will be allowed three minutes).
Written comments are encouraged and can be emailed to
oilgascomment@bouldercounty.org.

Background

The soon to be proposed regulations are part of Boulder
County’s ongoing efforts to mitigate the impacts of oil and gas development in unincorporated
Boulder County. Since February 2012, the county has had moratoriums in place on
the processing of oil and gas development applications for the unincorporated county.

On May 2, 2016, the Colorado Supreme Court overturned
efforts by the Front Range cities of Fort Collins and Longmont to limit oil and
gas drilling in the form of hydraulic fracturing. Because of these decisions,
the County Commissioners voted on May 19, 2016, to terminate the temporary
moratorium and establish a new moratorium until Nov. 18, 2016. The purpose of
the new temporary moratorium was to provide the county enough time to review
the land use code and adopt updates that address the changes in state law and
oil and gas drilling practices.

The county’s objective with the amended
oil and gas regulations is to protect public health, safety, welfare, and the
environment to the maximum extent permitted by law. Boulder County residents have
raised concerns about health problems, air pollution, water contamination,
noise, odor, vibration, property damage, and other impacts that may be caused
by oil and gas development, particularly the extraction method known as
hydraulic fracturing or fracking.

The county’s amended regulations will
provide for close scrutiny of all proposed oil and gas development and multiple
opportunities for public input prior to any decision. They also allow staff,
the Planning Commission, and the Board of County Commissioners to consider
site-specific circumstances related to each development application and to
customize avoidance, minimization, and mitigation measures to best address each
of these circumstances. Finally, these regulations will help to ensure close
monitoring and enforcement of post-approval compliance with all requirements
and mitigation measures.

The county anticipates adopting a set of regulations by Nov.
18, 2016 when the current moratorium on oil and gas development is set to
expire. For more information about the county’s role in oil and gas
development, visit the county’s
Oil and Gas Development webpage.