Three weeks into a six-week moratorium that started Feb. 9 on new oil and gas development permits in the county, Adams County Commissioner Eva Henry said progress is being made and the stoppage is likely to be lifted.
“I feel good with the …
This item is available in full to subscribers.
If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.
Click here to see your options for becoming a subscriber.
If you made a voluntary contribution in 2022-2023 of $50 or more, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one at no additional charge. VIP Digital Access includes access to all websites and online content.
Three weeks into a six-week moratorium that started Feb. 9 on new oil and gas development permits in the county, Adams County Commissioner Eva Henry said progress is being made and the stoppage is likely to be lifted.“I feel good with the direction they are moving in,” Henry said. “We are definitely moving forward.”But whether or not that is positive depends on who’s asked, she added.Henry, an early proponent of the temporary ban on new drilling permits in urban growth areas in the county, does not foresee the pause going past the initial six-week period. Nor does she see support for a permanent ban.“It just depends on which side you are on in regards to that,” she said.Henry credits the recent progress to simply slowing down the process to allow commissioners a chance to regain composure.“We just needed that breather,” Henry said. “We just needed some time to sit back and let everything calm down on both sides, because we were being bombarded on both sides.”Despite early ire over the moratorium, enacted by county commissioners Feb. 9 in a 3-2 vote, gas and oil producers in general have expressed patience, Henry said. “I think once the sting was over, they realized it was just six weeks. We hadn’t stopped production.”Declining to discuss exactly what steps the commission has planned, Henry did say the county would utilize the entire span of the moratorium to formulate its next move.“It will definitely go the full six weeks,” Henry said. “You will start seeing movement on our public hearing agendas as we are moving forward in the next couple of weeks, as things are changing. At the end of the six weeks, we will be out there again.”Jim Siedlecki, public information director for Adams County, confirmed the county hasn’t rejected any applications during the three weeks that permits have been suspended.“To this point, the county has not had specific discussions with specific operators that were turned away or delayed due to the temporary moratorium,” he said.Nor has the county faced any legal actions as a result of the moratorium, despite earlier predictions to the contrary by Adams County Commissioner Jan Pawlowski. Before the vote enacting the moratorium, Pawlowski had warned: “We’re going to be sued. This is not going to work out like you think.”Asked about the progress that county staff and the Board of Commissioners have made, Siedlecki pointed toward ongoing discussions — by way of closed-door executive sessions and/or work groups — the county has held with concerned parties.“Our attorney and staff have participated in more than 15 hours of meetings with stakeholders and have been able to provide analysis and initial recommendations” to commissioners, Siedlecki said.Not all parties expressed satisfaction with the effort thus far.Outspoken on the moratorium from the onset, Colorado Oil and Gas Association president and CEO Dan Haley remained unbowed in his opposition, saying the pause only engenders reluctance among oil producers in the county, particularly in light of slumping oil prices.“The moratorium, along with MOU delays that date back as early 2015, already have created costly delays for small and mid-size operators in the county,” Haley said in a written statement. “Given the current state of commodity prices, we are fortunate that companies are still interested in development here.”A request sent to the Colorado Oil and Gas Association for a list of operators affected by the moratorium went unanswered at press time. But Haley said the local economy is the real victim.“Any time communities do something that makes it harder to do business, such as a moratorium, the entire county can look like an unsafe investment during volatile times,” Haley said. “Unfortunately, it’s ultimately the Adams County residents who lose their jobs and the local schools who lose out on revenue that will suffer most.”
Other items that may interest you
We have noticed you are using an ad blocking plugin in your browser.
The revenue we receive from our advertisers helps make this site possible. We request you whitelist our site.