Local governments take up oil drilling moratoriums

Elected officials in the cities of Fort Collins and Loveland as well as Boulder County all took up temporary bans on oil- and natural-gas drilling this week.

The city of Fort Collins moved a step closer to not accepting new oil- and gas-drilling applications for six months following a vote by City Council Tuesday night.

Councilors voted unanimously to pass the first reading of an ordinance authorizing the moratorium. Councilwoman Aislinn Kottwitz was absent.

The move gives the city additional time to work on its regulations as the state Oil and Gas Conservation Commission considers new rules on distances between wells and buildings as well as groundwater testing standards.

As expected, the city of Loveland also Tuesday night passed the first reading of an ordinance to extend of its own moratorium by two months. The drilling ban extension, approved by a 7-1 vote, now could last until April 15.

Councilman Hugh McKean, who has opposed a moratorium, cast the dissenting vote.

Originally approved in May, the moratorium now could last almost a year.

The Boulder County Commission also heard from residents Tuesday night about a proposal to extend the county’s year-long moratorium, originally passed in February.

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