Boulder County extends moratorium on oil, gas development to May

The Boulder County Board of Commissioners has again extended the county’s moratorium on oil and gas development, this time to May 1, 2017.

The three-member board established the new timeframe at their Tuesday meeting, giving county staff more time to finalize the local regulations that will govern oil and gas development in the county once the moratorium is lifted.

The commissioners scheduled a public hearing for March 14 at which they’ll consider a final draft of the regulations.

“Our residents, like this Board of County Commissioners, are deeply concerned about the negative impacts that fracking can have on the environment, public health, and the economy of Boulder County,” commissioner Elise Jones said in a news release from the county. “It is absolutely critical that we get this right so that we have the most comprehensive and protective set of regulations in the state in place before anything else happens.”

The current moratorium had been in place since May and was originally set to expire Nov. 18. But in November, that date was pushed back to Jan. 31 before being extended again on Tuesday.

Boulder County has had some form of moratorium in place since 2012, however. In 2013, the county adopted a moratorium that was to run through July 1, 2018. But that moratorium was rescinded after the Colorado Supreme Court ruling that struck down a ban on fracking in Longmont and a long-term moratorium in Fort Collins.

The county imposed the new shorter moratorium in order to get regulations in place before oil and gas development begins taking place.