Commissioners in Boulder County voted on Tuesday to extend a moratorium on new oil and gas development through the end of the year, citing the need for extra time to update regulations following changes in state law.
“I think it’s just critical that we do the strongest rules…to protect people and the environment,” said Commissioner Matt Jones, according to The Longmont Times-Call. “We need to take the time to do that right.”
The moratorium was originally set to expire on July 31, but the extension will give the county time to focus on rulemaking proceedings for the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission this fall. The county reported that it received 115 public comments, and 99% supported the extension.
“As a Boulder resident since 1967, I implore you to take advantage of the legislation that now gives more local control over fracking and EXTEND the moratorium,” wrote one commenter. “Please do it for the health of those affected and for the environment. In addition to adding to the methane in our air, fracking takes an insane amount of water. Please do the right thing and extend the moratorium.”
Lynn Granger, executive director of the oil and natural gas association API Colorado, said that the industry would work in good faith with state and local regulators.
“We are disappointed with Boulder County’s decision to once again extend its seemingly interminable moratorium on new energy production,” she said. “While local governments have the authority to regulate natural gas and oil development, they do not have the authority to completely prohibit it. By chaining together a seemingly endless series of moratoriums, Boulder County appears to have no serious intent to reopen the county to our industry.”