February 19, 2020
Board of Boulder County Commissioners to Consider Oil and Gas Moratorium Extension
Staff proposes revised schedule for updating oil and gas regulations that stretches beyond March 28, 2020 moratorium end date.
Boulder County, Colo. - In response to concerns voiced by members of the public and the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC), county staff is proposing a revised schedule for the roll-out and review of revisions to Article 12 of the Boulder County Land Use Code addressing oil and gas development in unincorporated Boulder County.
The new schedule contemplates finalization of regulations in July and would require an extension of the existing moratorium on processing oil and gas permit applications, which is currently set to expire on March 28.
At the Jan. 28 public meeting, staff initially proposed an ambitious schedule for release of new draft regulations, public comment, and hearings to come before the Boulder County Planning Commission and the Board of County Commissioners. The schedule was designed to complete the regulations, which are being revised in response to the passage of Senate Bill 19-181, before the current moratorium on accepting and processing applications for new oil and gas development expires on March 28.
Since the January meeting, members of the public and the BOCC have voiced concerns that the schedule does not allow sufficient time for review and comment by the public of a very complex and technical set of regulatory issues. Additionally, the proposed timeline overlaps with extensive oil and gas rulemakings at the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (currently scheduled for April 29 and May 6-8, 13-15, and 27-29), which county staff and interested county residents and stakeholders will be deeply involved with.
Consequently, staff has proposed a revised schedule for the Article 12 update. Addressing the need for more time to review and comment -- and avoiding overlap with the state rulemakings -- the revised schedule will not meet the current moratorium end date. At a public hearing is scheduled for March 2, the BOCC will consider an extension of the current moratorium through the end of July 2020.
The proposed, revised schedule is as follows (all meetings are open to the public and will be held in the Commissioners' Hearing Room.* Meetings listed as hearings will include public testimony (as noted):
- Monday, March 2 at 2 p.m. – Board of County Commissioners’ Public Hearing to consider whether to extend or otherwise amend the temporary moratorium on Boulder County’s processing of applications for oil and gas development and seismic testing in the unincorporated county, which is set to expire on March 28. Written testimony only will be accepted for this hearing. Comments emailed to email@example.com by 5 p.m., Feb. 28, will be made available to the commissioners prior to the March 2 hearing.
- Monday, April 6 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. Because of heightened public interest in participation at this hearing, an online advance sign-up system will be used for public testimony.
- Wednesday, April 8 at 1 p.m. – Public meeting for Planning Commission discussion and recommendation to the Board of County Commissioners or direction to staff to modify regulations. No additional public testimony. (Note: In observance of Passover, this meeting will finish by sundown.)
- (If necessary) Monday, April 27 at 4 p.m. – Planning Commission public meeting continued, if needed. No additional public testimony.
- May – County staff participation at Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission Rulemaking Hearings (currently scheduled for April 29 and May 6-8, 13-15, and 27-29).
- Thursday, June 18 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. Because of heightened public interest, there will be an online advance sign-up for speakers at this hearing.
- Thursday, June 25 at 4 p.m.– Public meeting for BOCC discussion. Adoption of regulations or direction to staff to modify regulations. No additional public testimony.
- (If necessary) Tuesday, July 7 at 1 p.m. – BOCC public proceedings continued, if needed, for BOCC to review staff changes to the regulations; adoption of regulations. No additional public testimony.
- (If necessary) Thursday, July 9 at 3 p.m. - BOCC public proceedings continued, if needed, for BOCC to review staff changes to the regulations; adoption of regulations. No additional public testimony.
- (If necessary) Tuesday, July 14 at 1 p.m. - BOCC public proceedings continued, if needed, for BOCC to review staff changes to the regulations; adoption of regulations. No additional public testimony.
- July 31, 2020 – Staff recommended end of moratorium, subject to action taken by the Board of County Commissioners on March 2.
Updates to the schedule will be posted on the County’s Oil & Gas website (www.boco.org/OilGas). In addition to participating at Planning Commission and Board of County Commissioner hearings, comments and information can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Commissioners' Hearing Room, 3rd Floor, County Courthouse, 1325 Pearl Street, Boulder.