A Maze of Confusion

Are you confused?  Join the rest of us!

Broomfield Concerned’s frequent tag line is “Are you concerned?”  Then we typically share what we know to “inform” and “educate.”

While our goal is to get answers where we can, and to share them with you, sometimes answers are elusive. Even those of us paying exceptionally close attention sometimes lack the answers we all know our community wants.

The truth is, sometimes we can only share the questions, not the answers, because a great number of things are currently unclear as we are all witnessing a fast-moving train moving forward.  In the spirit of sharing the things we don’t know, as well as those we do: here’s a sample of what we found ourselves scratching our heads about lately.

1) Could Council vote on the amended Extraction MOU on Tuesday, October 10?

We wrote to the City to ask this question but didn’t get a response.  Through someone who has better connections, we were told that the amended MOU only needs one vote but that vote will likely occur on October 24.  The Oct. 10 meeting agenda does have item 13a “Update on Staff Negotiations with Extraction Oil and Gas, LLC,” so citizen comments about the amended MOU would still be relevant at the beginning of the Oct. 10 meeting.

2) Does the City really expect its citizens to read a 103-page amended Extraction MOU in 5 days, from its Thursday night release to the Tuesday Council meeting?

Apparently, yes, the City thinks that is plenty of time to read and understand this complex document, and provide meaningful feedback.  We appreciate the City keeping us updated on the negotiations, but the train is moving too quickly to make sure that nothing important falls through the cracks.

3) What is the State (COGCC) going to do with the public comments at the Oct. 12 Broomfield public forum?

We don’t know.  If it were an official Public Forum under COGCC Rule 508, then the COGCC would be required to review the public comments as input to the Oct. 30 and 31 spacing unit application hearings.  However, according to COGCC’s Rule 508, Extraction’s proposal was not “dense” enough to qualify at the time the forum was requested.

4) Why were there spacing unit application prehearings held with such short notice this past week at the COGCC before the scheduled Oct. 30 and Oct. 31 hearings?

It seems to be a common, disrespectful practice at the COGCC.  Twice this past week both the City and Wildgrass representatives received about a half day notice from the COGCC and were told to appear the next day to defend their previously filed protests.

5) Why were some Anthem Ranch residents first told by Extraction that they were mineral owners but then told they were not by Extraction?

At this past week’s prehearings, Extraction brought forward an existing lease agreement that seemed to show the mineral rights in the Lowell North area are not held by either the City nor any Anthem Ranch residents.  The COGCC ruled that the Lowell North protests are invalid, without any concern that Extraction had said there were mineral rights owners in Anthem Ranch for over a year.  Everyone just seems to accept that it is difficult to trace mineral rights ownership in Colorado.

6) Why were some Wildgrass mineral owners not given proper notice by Extraction and could there be other mineral rights owners who were not given proper notice?

No one knows.  Furthermore, at the prehearing, the COGCC refused to follow its own rules on the requirement for proper notice and stated that the Oct. 30 and 31 hearings would proceed.

7) What will happen to the City’s protests of the spacing unit applications if the amended Extraction MOU is passed?

The City would almost certainly agree to drop its protests before the Oct. 30 and 31 hearings.  That would leave Wildgrass mineral owners as the only ones with an active protest.

8) Why doesn’t “YES on 301” sue “NO on 301” because “NO” stole the “YES” logo and is falsely calling 301 supporters “outside activists?”

The legal process is too long and expensive.  In the meantime, please thank your neighbor who comes to your door supporting 301 for their time.

9) Why did the oil and gas industry sit in the audience at the Marble/Saine summits this summer when they were invited to participate as stakeholders?

We don’t know, especially since they vehemently complained last spring that they were not invited to participate in the planning of forced pooling and school setback legislation.

10) How long will residents need to continue to be vigilant in protecting their health and safety regarding oil and gas development?

Last week at a Department of Natural Resources meeting, one of the concerned Colorado residents was from Battlement Mesa.  When he said after the meeting that he has been driving back and forth to testify at COGCC hearings for eight years, those of us who were with him let out very loud moans.

Feel free to write us anytime at leadership@broomfieldconcerned.org to share your confusion, questions and concerns.