The Boulder County, CO, commission on Tuesday formally extended a moratorium on new oil and natural gas drilling permits to June 10. However, the commission left the door open to lifting the ban earlier if the county's new drilling rules are in place.
In late January county planners asked and received permission to extend the time needed to implement new drilling rules (see Shale Daily, Jan. 30). The three-member panel temporarily limited the extension, however.
Last fall the planning commission drafted regulations to create two procedures for drilling operations in unincorporated areas: a standard process and an expedited process. The procedures would require operators to comply with stricter air and water quality rules (see Shale Daily, Nov. 2, 2012).
If the planning staff implements the new regulations before the moratorium ends, the permit ban would be lifted. Tuesday's action urges county staff to "move expeditiously" on the rules to end the moratorium.
Boulder and other Colorado cities have in the past year attempted to restrict oil and gas development, which has at times been at odds with state regulations (see Shale Daily, Sept. 7, 2012).
Still to be resolved by the Boulder commissioners is a new county transportation impact fee that would pay for the repair of roads and highways damaged by drilling operators. The fee could be enacted over the next two or three months, a spokesman told reporters.