Larimer County commissioners extend oil and gas moratorium for five months – Greeley Tribune

FORT COLLINS – The Larimer County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved an extension of the county’s temporary ban on new applications for oil and gas operations for the next five months.

The vote during Tuesday afternoon’s meeting of commissioners sets the moratorium on new drilling to September 15, while a related stop on 1,041 new land use applications has been extended to December 15.

“1041” refers to part of Senate Act 181, the comprehensive reforms of power generation that came into effect in the summer of 2019. The law allows local governments to add stricter oil and gas regulations than the national level or implement their own assessments of drilling applications.

Commissioners first voted to implement the moratorium in mid-March so they could consider changing local regulations to align with a new set of rules by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission that went into effect this January.

The best-known new rule from this rulebook is a 2,000-foot setback between a new well and a school, home, or sensitive wildlife habitat that proponents of the energy industry have found overly restrictive.

Commissioner Kristin Stephens said the group has no intention of extending the moratorium indefinitely and believes the moratorium will allow the county to set final rules on what can and cannot be done by the industry.

“There are several reasons we look at this, but politics is not part of it,” she said. “It’s really about listening to the people in our community.”

In a statement, Lynn Granger, executive director of the American Petroleum Institute in Colorado argued that there is no basis for implementing a moratorium of any length.

“Successful development and implementation of complex gas and oil regulations requires good faith from both regulators and stakeholders, and a moratorium is a dramatic step away from that approach,” she said.

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