Boulder County to draft new oil rules, no drilling moratorium yet

BOULDER — Boulder County Commissioners gave the go-ahead Tuesday for staffers to begin drafting new oil and gas regulations for new drilling on unincorporated county land.

During the rulemaking process — spurred by the additional local government controls established in Senate Bill 181 — Boulder County will not implement a moratorium on the approval of new drilling permits. At least not yet.

Other Colorado communities, including nearby Broomfield County, have recently decided to pause the approval process to allow for the update of local land-use regulations and for the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to complete its own rulemaking process.

It’s not that Boulder County leaders are opposed to implementing a moratorium — it simply isn’t necessary at the moment, staff told commissioners.

“Moratoriums are typically put in place when there are pending applications in front of you,” Boulder County senior planner Kim Sanchez said. “At this point in time, the county doesn’t have any pending oil and gas proposals at the local level.”

Crestone Peak Resources does have a pending application to drill in Erie. But that permit, which is the subject of a county lawsuit, is being considered on the state level rather than the local level.

If a new drilling application is submitted before the new regulations are drafted and implemented, Boulder County officials likely would explore a moratorium, Commissioner Elise Jones said.

It’s unclear how long it will take Boulder County to develop new land-use regulations related to oil and gas activity.

The time frame is heavily dependent in the COGCC’s rulemaking processes, which could take as long as a year.

“Some of the outcomes of the rulemaking might inform how we draft language in our regulations,” Sanchez said.

While there are not public hearings scheduled currently, “we plan on having opportunities for the public to be involved” in the creation of the new regulations, she said.

Boulder County Commissioners gave staff some broad guidance on the rulemaking process Tuesday.

“I think it goes without saying that the passage of SB-181 was greatly appreciated by the people of Boulder County,” Jones said.

She encouraged staff to create regulations that “maximize our abilities to protect our residents, our environment and our open space using this authority” granted to local governments by SB-181.

Commissioner Matt Jones agreed, saying, “We need to protect our citizens to the fullest extent of the law.”

BOULDER — Boulder County Commissioners gave the go-ahead Tuesday for staffers to begin drafting new oil and gas regulations for new drilling on unincorporated county land.

During the rulemaking process — spurred by the additional local government controls established in Senate Bill 181 — Boulder County will not implement a moratorium on the approval of new drilling permits. At least not yet.

Other Colorado communities, including nearby Broomfield County, have recently decided to pause the approval process to allow for the update of local land-use regulations and for the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to complete its own rulemaking process.

It’s not that Boulder County leaders are opposed to implementing a moratorium — it simply isn’t necessary at the moment, staff told commissioners.

“Moratoriums are typically put in place when there are pending applications in front of you,” Boulder County senior planner Kim Sanchez said. “At this point in time, the county doesn’t have any pending oil and gas proposals at the local level.”

Crestone Peak Resources does have a pending application to drill in Erie. But that permit, which is the subject of a county lawsuit, is being considered on the state level rather than the local level.

If a new drilling application is submitted before the new regulations are drafted and implemented, Boulder County officials likely would explore a moratorium, Commissioner Elise Jones said.

It’s unclear how long it will take Boulder County to develop new land-use regulations related to oil and…