Boulder County commissioners call for shuttering of all vertical oil and gas wells in county

Posted at 4:55 PM, Apr 27, 2017

BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. – The Boulder Board of County Commissioners on Thursday called for all oil and gas companies operating in the county to shutter their vertical wells, just as the Anadarko Petroleum Corporation has in the days since a home exploded near one of its wells in Firestone.

The statement from the three commissioners – Cindy Domenico, Deb Gardner and Elise Jones – called for the wells to be shut in until the companies “can assure [county] residents that these wells do not pose similar safety risks in Boulder County.”

The announcement came on the same day that Colorado oil and gas authorities held a news conference discussing the ramifications of the Firestone house explosion and how the oil and gas business operates within residential areas.

The board’s statement also comes a day after a Boulder District Court Judge refused to dismiss a lawsuit against the county by the state attorney general and several oil and gas companies over the county’s moratorium on oil and gas development.

Similar moratoriums were struck down last year by the Colorado Supreme Court.

The text of the board’s letter can be read in full below:

Statement from the Board of County Commissioners

The tragic home explosion in Firestone last week is just another illustration of how important it is that we continue to work to protect the health and safety of residents on all fronts available to us, even if the moratorium option is not an available tool from a legal standpoint, 

Colorado counties and cities have their hands tied by the state in prohibiting the highly industrial use of oil and gas development near residential areas. We are given too limited a regulatory role as compared to other similar uses, which is why it is so important for the county and our residents to continue to push the state for adequate local authority. 

It is also important that Boulder County continue its robust monitoring program, participating in public health studies, helping homeowners and businesses reduce their reliance on fossil fuels, and working with other communities statewide. 

In response to the explosion in Firestone, we call on all oil and gas operators in Boulder County to shut down their vertical wells, just as Anadarko has, until they can assure our residents that these wells do not pose similar safety risks in Boulder County.  

We are all in this together, sharing the common goal of working towards what’s best for Boulder County. As your Board of County Commissioners, we pledge to continue to do all that we can to protect this county and its residents from the impacts of oil and gas development and to forge ahead with a cleaner energy future for us all. 

Cindy Domenico. Deb Gardner, Elise Jones
Boulder County Commissioners

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