Boulder City Council tackles oil issues once again

BOULDER, Colo. — The Boulder City Council will consider two measures dealing with oil and gas production during its Tuesday night meeting.

The first is an ordinance that would impose a pollution tax on oil and gas producers, despite the fact that oil and gas drilling is not allowed within city limits. Supporters said this is a preemptive measure to pay for the damage created in case drilling is ever permitted. 

The measure proposes a pollution tax of up to $6.90 per oil barrel extracted from the ground under Boulder and 88 cents per thousand cubic feet of natural gas produced.

The city council will vote on whether the issue should appear on the Nov. 6 ballot for local voters. The agenda item, which will be presented by the city manager, attorney and others during the city council meeting, said that the money from the pollution tax would be used to address the negative impacts drilling would have on natural resources, drinking water, health and the economy.

If the measure is approved by city voters, Boulder could serve as a trailblazer for Lafayette, which is considering a similar measure.

The second issue the Boulder City Council will tackle Tuesday deals with a statewide initiative.

The city council is deciding whether it wants to formally oppose state Initiative 108, which allows property owners to receive compensation from local and state governments for lost revenue based on laws and ordinances.

In Boulder, for instance, where oil and gas production is banned, this could be an expensive notion. The initiative means landowners could ask the city to pay them for the money they would have made leasing out the land to oil and gas production companies. 

The Colorado Oil and Gas Association has announced its support for Initiative 108. Groups that pushed the initiative turned in 209,000 signatures of support on Friday. The state now has 30 days to verify those signatures before announcing whether it will be allowed on the November ballot.

The Boulder City Council will discuss both issues during its meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday as part of its consent agenda.

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