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Boulder, CO, City Council to Consider Drilling Moratorium

Like other cities and its own county in Colorado, the Boulder City Council is set to consider two actions related to the use of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) on open space within the city limits.

On the council agenda for its Tuesday evening meeting is an emergency ordinance imposing a year-long moratorium on accepting any drilling permit applications in the city, and a second item seeking to ban the "use, sale or supply of water for oil and natural gas extraction" in the city limits.

The County of Boulder's elected commissioners voted last month against extending an ongoing moratorium on new wells in the county that is scheduled to expire June 10, and it plans to phase in planned natural gas and oil development in the eastern half of the county (see Shale Daily, May 28).

Industry officials said a moratorium on drilling permits issued for city-owned open space in Boulder may be somewhat of an academic gesture since there hasn't been an application for an oil or gas permit in the city during the past 10 years.

Production in Boulder County has increased over the past decade, with oil production reaching 176,050 bbl and gas production 2.25 Bcf in 2012, but the county still accounts for only fractional amounts of the state's total production -- 0.43% of oil production and 0.12% of gas production last year -- according to Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission data.

Despite some of the nation's strongest state regulations governing fracking, Colorado municipalities and counties continue to stir up new requirements for oil/gas drilling. Earlier this year, Fort Collins, CO, adopted a resolution banning fracking within city limits (see Shale Daily, March 7).

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