Boulder County officials announced Wednesday night that a company has filed paperwork with the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to begin the process of seeking a state permit for exploring for oil and gas in two unincorporated areas of the county.
One of the sites, county officials said in a news release, is a 1,280-acre area between Arapahoe and Baseline roads, at the far eastern edge of the county along East County Line Road.
The second site is a 2,720-acre area between Oxford and Quail roads, also along East County Line Road.
“As proposed, these operations would have significant and massive impacts on residents on the east sides of Lafayette and Longmont, around Erie, and in the unincorporated areas of east Boulder County,” Boulder County Commissioners Deb Gardner, Cindy Domenico and Elise Jones said in a joint statement.
County officials said they just learned on Monday of the filing of 8 North LLC, a subsidiary of Extraction Oil and Gas LLC, and the applications that are the first step in the state permitting process.
County commissioners said they are “gravely concerned” by the 8 North proposals.
“The company has not directly communicated to Boulder County about their plans,” county officials said in their news release, adding that the county “is very concerned about the development contemplated in 8 North’s applications.”
Boulder County has reached out to officials in Longmont, Lafayette and Erie to discuss a coordinated response to the applications, and county officials said they will oppose the company’s drilling and spacing applications when they come up for a yet-to-be-scheduled Colorado Oil and Gas Commission hearing.
The county will post 8 North’s applications, other information and updates on its oil and gas webpage at bit.ly/2p538i9.
County officials also said on Wednesday night that the 8 North applications are not the only recent oil and gas proposals in Boulder County.
Last week, the county Parks and Open Space Department got letters from Crestone Peak Resources LLC requesting county consultation on the use of four specific county-owned open-space properties to locate well pads within that company’s proposed Comprehensive Drilling Plan area in eastern Boulder County.
Crestone is proposing about 126 wells on the county’s Bailey-Kenosha Ponds, ERTL, Haley and Wheeler open-space properties.
The county commissioners said in their statement that the impacts on those county open-space areas “would be enormous.”
County officials said in their news release that under the state’s Comprehensive Drilling Plan process rules, Crestone must consult with potential surface landowners, and private property owners may also have been contacted about the surface use of their properties.
However, since Crestone has not yet received approval for any drilling location — either from the state or Boulder County — “these requests are premature,” county officials said.
“In fact, the county’s regulations recommend that applicants only finalize surface use agreements if and when the required approvals have been received from both the state and Boulder County.”
The county commissioners added: “We will oppose the drilling and spacing applications when they come up for a hearing before the COGCC (Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission) and urge concerned residents to do the same.”
Earlier this year, Crestone Peak Resources applied to the COGCC with a proposal to drill on roughly 12 square miles of county land.
That application was the first in Boulder County in five years. The county’s moratorium on accepting and processing new applications for oil and gas development in unincorporated parts of the county — the latest in a series of moratoriums the county originally imposed in February 2012 — expired May 1.
The Denver-based company is proposing up to 216 wells near U.S. 287 and Colo. 52 between Longmont and Lafayette, where an invisible border of grazing fields meet against a slew of oil and gas wells that dot its eastern half.