Erie Extends Drilling Moratorium Through Summer
Erie Trustees on Tuesday approved a six-month extension to its halt on new drilling in anticipation of lawmakers addressing statewide regulations in their 2019 session.
The town’s current moratorium was due to expire next month; Tuesday’s extension was approved as an emergency resolution, activating it immediately and preempting a lapse.
Lafayette and Superior are currently in the midst of drilling moratoriums, and both have echoed a similar desire to wait and see what the Legislature decides to do on oil and gas before moving forward on new rules of its own. Boulder last summer approved a moratorium on new drilling through June 2020.
Erie over the last year already has moved on relatively radical rule changes, approving new regulations surrounding mapping requirements and odor mitigation that have been scrutinized by the industry. The latter stipulation quickly drew a lawsuit by a local company. In recent months the town has turned toward individual dealings with drillers to enforce regulations.
If it wants to change any of its broader codes moving forward, town leaders have stressed a need to wait until rumored statewide changes take effect, fearing local rules could fall out of step with revamped Legislature edicts.
The Legislature is poised to move toward imposing increased setbacks — after Proposition 112′s defeat — and for stricter rules around air and sound quality.
Local rules can only go so far; in the case of communities exploring drilling halts, the industry often responds warily.
“Colorado’s oil and natural gas companies are always willing to sit down and talk through projects and work with the communities in which they are operating,” Colorado Oil and Gas Association spokesman Scott Prestidge said in a prepared statement Monday.
“Of course,” he added, “those conversations can be complicated and filled with important technical nuances, which takes time, but those conversations can occur without establishing or extending a moratoria.”
Anthony Hahn: 303-473-1422, email@example.com or twitter.com/_anthonyhahn