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News Archive

November 1, 2016

Online registration available to sign-up in advance to speak at oil and gas public hearing on Nov. 15


Boulder County Commissioners to hold public hearing on draft oil and gas regulations at 12 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 15


(Boulder County, Colo.) -- A public hearing has been scheduled for the Board of County
Commissioners to consider proposed regulations addressing oil and gas
development within the Boulder County Land Use Code. Advance online sign-up* for
anyone wishing to speak at the hearing is now available at:
http://bit.ly/BoCoOG.

Updated draft Special Review regulations for oil and gas
development will be posted on the county’s Oil and Gas Development webpage for public review and
comment about a week in advance of the County Commissioners’ public hearing.

The draft regulations - to be posted on the website by Nov. 9 - will reflect direction given to staff by the Board of County
Commissioners (BOCC) 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 (aka, fracking).

The updated draft regulations will also reflect recommended
changes by the Planning Commission which met in October and held both a public
hearing and a follow up deliberation meeting to provide their input to the
Board of County Commissioners.

The Planning Commission's recommendations, which can be viewed on
the Oil and Gas Development webpage, will be forwarded to the BOCC along with
all public comments received ahead of the Nov. 15 public hearing.

What: Boulder County Commissioners’ Public Meetings on draft
regulations addressing oil and gas development within the Boulder County Land
Use Code:

  • Tuesday, Nov. 15, 12 p.m. Board of County Commissioners
    public hearing – public comment to be taken.
    (Note: Online speaker sign-ups* are available on the Oil and Gas
    Development webpage
    .)
  • 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 (map and directions)

Written comments are encouraged and can be emailed at any time to: oilgascomment@bouldercounty.org.

*Speakers
will be organized in the order that their sign-up submission is received.
Assigned time slots are approximate and speakers must be present when they are
called to speak. Limit 3 min. per speaker. Pooled time is also available
up to 10 minutes. You must include all names of pooled speakers when you sign
up, and those members must be present at the hearing when you are scheduled to
speak. In-person sign-ups will be taken on the day of the hearing, but will be
placed at the end of the speaker list following online sign-ups.

The list of speakers will be available on
the
Oil and Gas webpage the
morning of Nov. 15 for reference and planning purposes.

Background

The 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 to terminate the temporary moratorium and
establish a new moratorium until Nov. 18. 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 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
.