Why is Fracking a concern for Boulder?
The City of Boulder sits on top of an extensive “shale play” containing valuable hydro-carbons that with the new fracking process may become economically-recoverable. Old and abandoned wells can be revisited to extract previously unobtainable natural gas and oil. According to a Boulder Oil and Gas Map created by the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission, Boulder has 19 previously drilled wells, including four in North Boulder near Wonderland Lake.
Homeowners Cannot Stop Fracking
Under current Colorado law, mineral and gas rights and surface rights can be owned by different parties. In a “split estate,” the surface-right-homeowner cannot prevent the mineral-right-owner from drilling on your land. According to the Colorado Constitution, the mineral-estate-owner can lease their mineral rights to an oil & gas company which then has the right to enter and disturb the surface-right-owners’ land to extract the mineral takings underneath. You cannot stop an oil & gas operator from drilling on your land if they have obtained the mineral rights and a permit to drill.
Why Enact a Moratorium on Fracking in Boulder?
A moratorium on fracking to obtain public safety data is a protective measure to prevent the oil & gas industry from re-entering and fracking the existing wells in Boulder and the wells on 4,000 acres of City-owned Open Space land in Boulder County where the City does not own either the mineral and/or leasing rights. A moratorium on fracking protects Boulder from fracking, and help other Colorado cities have a legally defensible way to stand up against this desperate and dangerous process that keeps us dependent on fossil fuels.
Click to read Op-Ed “Time for Boulder to Ban Fracking“