Are you one of the many residents of Broomfield who feel that something needs to be done to delay the Extraction and Crestone spacing unit applications from moving forward at the COGCC meeting on September 11 in Durango? The Oil and Gas Update Committee has not completed its work and City Council needs time to decide what it will enact or change. There are a myriad of possibilities being proposed to allow time for completion, and it is not only because it is natural for different people to favor different approaches. Unfortunately, it sometimes seems like we are throwing darts to see what sticks when the dart board is slick because of the oil covering it.
So it is natural for everyone to feel a bit overwhelmed and confused trying to keep up. However, it is extremely important that in the midst of the process that we continue to let City Council and other officials know that the citizens of Broomfield are still very focused on making sure the health and safety of our citizens and environment are paramount. Therefore, we are asking you to write to City Council and tell them they MUST TAKE ACTION in order to delay the Extraction and Crestone spacing unit applications from moving forward. Tell them that we need them to consider a moratorium or any other method by which they could stop accepting oil and gas permits until the City has had time to update the comprehensive plan to address oil and gas. (City Council contact information can be found here.)
First, some background details that you might find helpful for your letter:
Next, a list of possible paths being considered to stop the Extraction and Crestone spacing unit applications from going forward:
- CITY PROTEST OF THE SPACING UNIT APPLICATIONS
City Council will consider protesting the Extraction and Crestone spacing applications at the City Council Study Session on Tuesday, 8/8. The City posted “Information On Spacing Unit Applications with COGCC” on 8/2 that provides an overview that can be found here. A detailed preview document can be found here with a list of possible protest reasons. At the 7/24 City Council meeting, BCCN members made citizen comments encouraging City protests and the subsequent City Council member conversation was mostly in favor of filing protests. It is standard procedure that if a protest is filed that the State (COGCC) hearing would be delayed one month while the protest is reviewed, but there is no guarantee of a delay.
- MINERAL OWNER PROTEST OF THE SPACING UNIT APPLICATIONS
Almost all Wildgrass homeowners and some Anthem Ranch homeowners own their mineral rights and can file a protest based only on limited procedural and economic grounds (not health and safety). Encourage these mineral owners that you know to contact Wildgrass Oil and Gas Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org It is possible a mineral owner protest could delay the COGCC hearings for one month or more.
- COGCC DELAY OF THE HEARINGS
The City wrote a 7/28 letter to the COGCC to request a delay, but the City has not received a response. When City Manager Ozaki made an earlier request to the COGCC on behalf of the City, it was rejected.
- EXTRACTION AND CRESTONE CHOOSE TO DELAY HEARINGS
At the 7/25 City Council meeting, Mayor Ahrens stated that he personally asked Extraction to delay their spacing unit applications and they refused. It seems almost impossible to imagine that Crestone would voluntarily delay their hearing based on their uncooperative approach.
In the first months of 2017, City Council considered a moratorium. While the moratorium was not enacted, City Council agreed that there might be emergency situations in the future which would compel them to use it, particularly if the Update Committee has not completed its work to update the Comprehensive Plan to address oil and gas and a company proposes to move forward with the COGCC process. That is exactly the situation we are now facing. City Attorney Tuthill has stated that the Colorado Supreme Court has left open the door for a short local moratorium in order for a city to enact regulations that operators would have to comply with before going forward. However, there are many questions from legal experts if this would be the best time to use it. While these complexities get resolved, it may be best to write City Council to encourage them to enact or seek other delay measures.
It is also possible that other operators may request oil and gas permits from the City before the City can complete the process to update the Comprehensive Plan to address oil and gas. The City should consider use of a moratorium or some other method by which they could stop accepting these permits until the process is complete.
Again, it is important that City Council knows that you want them to take action in order to delay the Extraction and Crestone spacing unit applications from moving forward at the COGCC meeting on September 11 in Durango. Tell them that the Oil and Gas Update Committee has not completed its work and City Council needs time to decide what it will enact or change. You can use the contact information here. Thank you for your support of the health and safety of all Broomfield residents!