Boulder County enacts temporary halt on new oil and gas development

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BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. — Boulder County Friday instigated a temporary halt to new oil and gas development and seismic testing in the county.

The Boulder County Commissioners made the decision at a meeting Friday, approving a resolution enacting an “Emergency Temporary Moratorium” on accepting and processing new oil and gas development applications and seismic testing, according to a news release from the commissioners’ office.

The moratorium will be in effect until March 27, 2020, unless it is modified at a future public hearing, like the one the county will host at 4 p.m. July 16, at the Boulder County Courthouse, 1325 Pearl St., third floor. Starting July 2 at 10 a.m., a sign-up will become available at the county’s website for anyone wishing to speak at the hearing.

The board previously approved a resolution to make the county’s oil and gas regulations the strongest in Colorado, and directed staff to update the county’s code to prioritize the public’s and the environment’s health and safety, according to the release. The moratorium was adopted in part, according to the commissioners, to give staff time to work on the county code.

“It’s our duty and responsibility as county commissioners to do everything we can to fully safeguard the environment and people of Boulder County,” said Elise Jones, chair of the board, in the release. “To that end, it’s critical that we impose an emergency moratorium today to ensure that our regulations are as strong as they can be under the new law and that any industry proposals to drill or frack here are reviewed under these updated protections.”

Boulder County is not the first to initiate a moratorium on oil and gas development after Colorado Senate Bill 181, which proponents said was aimed at giving local governments more control over oil and gas development in their areas, was signed into law this year. And some, like Adams County, halted development in anticipation of the law being passed.

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