Ask Council Not to Approve Regulations Tonight – Write or Call Now and Attend Council Tonight

Call to Action:

Council Agenda:  https://docs.google.com/document/d/1T247af7m9hy_j82tmjImCaGk_9ULRCfrYoXZ8Ai-3s0/edit

Proposed Regulations:  https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ZXCml2xL1Bg1w3P982IAYfcf-A0YRjng/view

The Oil and Gas regulations are being voted on tonight. However, I do not believe they are protective of public health, safety, welfare, and the environmental resources.

It is the job of Broomfield Staff, and the special legal counsel they have hired, to assure the language in the Regulations meets the requirements of the Broomfield City Charter – including Section 2.1 Powers, Rights, and Liabilities. It is understood that certain regulations would only be subject to a facial challenge and hence are avoided. However, there are many regulations that can be added that could be challenged in court, but would likely hold. The City has the ability to do this.

The Task Force appointed by Council spent many months and thousands of hours for this very purpose, yet Task Force recommendations have not all been included. Where are the 20 recommended chemicals to be banned? What happened to the amazing graduated setbacks based on well count in which they allowed a single well at 500 feet, but increase setbacks progressively with increased well count? What else have they omitted? If they are not adding these to the Regulations for fear of challenge, then what progress have they made with the State regarding initiating a rulemaking?  Despite heavy opposition and the threat that protection of health, safety, and welfare would lead to a lawsuit, the voters still passed 301 by a huge margin.

Where are the enforcement criteria? Can the City shut down a leaking well immediately (not after waiting 30 days and then heading to court)? By what authority does Broomfield have to shut down a well? Where in our Ordinances, Regulations, or Municipal Code does it state that an individual or certain department has the authority to shut down oil and gas operations? It must be in writing – not just a statement by an individual that they think we have the authority!

These health and safety concerns are fully justified by the recently submitted Risk Management Plan in the Extraction CDP in which we would face multiple catastrophic risks with each individual risk contributing a 3-10% chance of occurrence. The cumulative risk of the various risks identified by Extraction has been estimated to be over 50% by one resident who specializes in this area. The individually identified catastrophic event risks with each having a 3-10% risk of occurrence include: (1) Vapor Cloud Explosion (VCE); (2) Fire/Explosion; (3) Well Blowout; (4) Lightning; (5) Aquifer or well water contamination; (6) Surface water pollution; (7) Chemical exposure drifting into residential areas; (8) Corrosion leading to material loss via leak or explosion; (9) Mechanical failure leading to material loss leading to fire/explosion/pollution; (10) Human error (poor decisions) leading to fire/explosions/pollution; (11) Faulty design, construction, or repair; and (12) Flood; There are multiple other risks noted at various risk levels and the overarching possibility of “Immediate Unforeseen Risks” and the statement that “…the number of risks increase as the project matures through the lifecycle”. (I have attached a 21 page pdf from the most recent CDP with just this section included.)

These risks, as indicated by Extraction, along with other risks that others have identified, must be addressed in the regulations.

In the meantime:

  1. Do not approve the First Reading of the Proposed Oil & Gas Regulations until they meet the requirements of the protection of public health, safety, and welfare, and the environment and wildlife resources.
  2. Do not process any new permits until Regulations that meet the requirements of the protection of public health, safety, and welfare, and the environment and wildlife resources are approved.
  3. Ensure that ENFORCEMENT mechanism are in place prior to processing or approving any permits.
  4. Do not approved Extraction’s CDP until the conditions of protection of public health, safety, and welfare, and the environment and wildlife resources are met.

Please share your comments as well!

Sincerely,

Laurie Anderson