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Weld County leaders have announced they are starting a process to take advantage recently passed state oil and gas reforms to exert more control over the location of drilling operations.
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Boulder County has revised its schedule for comment on its oil and gas regulations to reflect an extended timeline for the hearings on revising the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission rules.

The newly seated full-time COGCC started hearings in late August on the so-called “mission change” portion of regulations implementing Senate Bill 181.

The 2019 law changed the COGCC’s mission from fostering oil and gas development to regulating it in a manner that protects public health, safety and the environment. The law also expanded local governments’ authority to oversee oil and gas under their powers to regulate land uses, such as the location of wells.

The hearings and rule making proceedings were initially expected to last four weeks, ending Oct. 9, but now won’t end until Oct. 30.

To ensure Boulder County residents can participate in both the COGCC public process and the county’s public process on its moratorium, the county revised its schedule, according to a news release.

The Boulder County commissioners in July extended the existing moratorium on new oil and gas development applications through Dec. 31. The moratorium gives county staff members time to review and update the county’s oil and gas regulations based on the changes created by Senate Bill 181, according to a news release.

The county’s process to update its regulations will include public comment and hearings before the Planning Commission and commissioners. All meetings will be held virtually.

At 4 p.m. Nov. 9, there will be a public hearing at the Planning Commission meeting on the proposed oil and gas regulations. No action will be taken at the meeting.

At 4 p.m. Nov. 10, the Planning Commission will discuss and make a recommendation to the Boulder County Commissioners or provide direction to staff members to modify regulations. If needed, the discussion will be continued at meetings scheduled for 4 p.m. Nov. 17 and 4 p.m. Nov. 19.

At 4 p.m. Dec. 1, the Boulder County Commissioners will have a public hearing on the proposed oil and gas regulations. No action will be taken at the meeting.

At 4 p.m. Dec. 3, the Boulder County Commissioners will discuss and potentially vote on adopting the recommended regulations or will direct to staff to modify the regulations. If needed, the discussion will be continued at meetings scheduled for 4 p.m. Dec. 10 and 4 p.m. Dec. 15.

An initial draft of the updated regulations was posted to the county’s oil and gas website and is available for review and comment. A second draft will be published before the first Planning Commission hearing.

Along with participating in the public hearings, comments can be emailed to oilgascomment@bouldercounty.org.

The Denver Post contributed to this report.

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