Colorado’s Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) for Boulder County has extended the existing moratorium on accepting and processing new oil and gas development applications and on seismic testing to December 31.

The moratorium was put in place to give BOCC staff time to review and update the county’s oil and gas regulations in light of the changes made to local authority by Colorado’s Senate Bill 19-181.

“It’s critical we extend the oil and gas moratorium to make sure we have the most protective rules possible for people and the environment,” BOCC Vice Chair Matt Jones said. “We need to make the most of the increased local control in the new state law, and with the pandemic, we need to take the time to get it right.”

At a public hearing held virtually on Tuesday (July 14), county staff announced a new schedule for public review of revisions to Article 12 of the Boulder County Land Use Code, which addresses oil and gas development in unincorporated Boulder County.

“With the Covid-19 pandemic slowing everything down, we simply need more time to ensure we get our regulations right,” said BOCC Chair Elise Jones. “Extending our moratorium on new oil and gas development to the year’s end is both responsible and necessary in order to fulfill our duty to our constituents. They deserve the strongest possible protections and a pause on any applications until those are in place.”

The new timeline contemplates finalization of regulations in December and allows staff and the public to focus on important “mission change” rulemakings at the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) that are occurring through October, according to the county. 

COGCC rulemaking hearings are currently scheduled Aug. 24-Sept. 10 and Sept. 28-Oct. 9.

Public comments received by the BOCC in advance of the hearing widely supported extending the moratorium.Updates to the drafts and final regulations are to be available on the county website.