Boulder County To Weigh Drilling Moratorium On Heels Of Oil And Gas Lawsuits

<p>Brennan Linsley/AP</p>
<p>A petroleum industry storage tank sits between a ranch and another oil and gas drill site a few miles from the border of Boulder and Weld County, near Mead, Colo., Feb. 13, 2017.</p>

Boulder County Commissioners will consider whether to enact an emergency moratorium on new oil and gas drilling permits and seismic testing Friday.

The county wants to wait to issue permits until after a review of local oil and gas regulations, following the passage of a comprehensive oil and gas overhaul during the 2019 legislative session.

The moratorium could delay efforts by Crestone Peak Resources to develop mineral rights in the county. Both Crestone Peak and Boulder County are currently embroiled in a legal battle over drilling in the county. 

“It’s clear that Boulder County’s intent is to halt the collaborative process that has been ongoing for over two-plus years and to obstruct important planning activities, like seismic testing, that make our operations safe,” said Jason Oates, Crestone Peak Resources’ director of external affairs.

If the moratorium is approved Friday, Crestone Peak would be unable to get local permits approved until the time-out is lifted. Crestone Peak has filed a Boulder County Comprehensive Drilling Plan Proposal with the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, which has put drill plan approvals on hold while it implements Senate Bill 181.

If Boulder County commissioners approve the moratorium, they would join a host of other communities that have enacted time-outs while local rules are crafted in the wake of SB181, including Broomfield, Superior and Erie.