Boulder: Fight Brewing with State

Boulder County received a letter from Colorado’s Attorney General Cynthia Coffman dated January 26 in which the County was asked to end its gas and oil ban by February 10 or risk legal action. The letter cited the history of Colorado Supreme Court decisions regarding gas and oil moratoria and noted the County’s policy of extending its moratorium for five years is tantamount to a ban.

In response, County Attorney Ben Pearlman (himself a former County Commissioner) said the draft regulations proposed by the County have been undergoing public review and require further work. He suggested the February 10 deadline had been fabricated and called any potential litigation “an unjustified intrusion into local government affairs” and a “waste of taxpayer resources.”

From the tone of Mr. Pearlman’s letter, it doesn’t sound like the County is ready to compromise. Clearly, the Attorney General has run out of patience and mineral owners who’ve been waiting five years for the end of the “temporary” moratorium must be impatient as well. The litigation might well be a waste of money but if it comes down to a legal fight, which side is ultimately responsible for its creation?

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