Court Grants Broomfield’s Motion to Dissolve Extraction’s Temporary Restraining Order and Reaffirms Broomfield is Not Preempted from Taking Action to Protect Residents During COVID-19

Today, District Court Judge Kiesnowki, Jr. dissolved the Temporary Restraining Order granted to Extraction Oil and Gas on Friday, March 27th, citing that it was “improvidently granted” and that it is not “yet ripe for adjudication because the Broomfield Board of Health had not yet enacted an emergency ordinance or public health order.”

The Judge also ruled on the issue of preemption and ruled that Broomfield does have the ability to enact health orders or emergency ordinances that are more protective of the State when it comes to stopping the spread of COVID-19 or protecting residents from “pernicious” effects. The definition of pernicious is “having a harmful effect, especially in a gradual or subtle way.”

The Judge also noted that while the request for a temporary restraining order was not currently “ripe” (able to be reviewed by the courts), Extraction’s breach of contract claims are indeed “ripe” and can be heard. The Judge indicated that while the Temporary Restraining Order was not currently ripe, this could change if/when Broomfield passed a Public Health Order.

Residents have written in and signed a petition by the hundreds, expressing concerns about Extraction’s flowback process that is being planned for the middle of April, precisely as the Covid-19 pandemic forces residents to stay in their homes. Residents expressed concerns over air quality, the project’s proximity to the nearby senior community of Anthem Ranch, the combination of VOCs with Covid-19 symptoms such as difficulty breathing and the ability for the city to effectively evacuate should there be an accident or an explosion on the site.

In response, the City Council provided a platform for Extraction to present to citizens, and offered several hours for citizens to testify in town-hall-style community meeting held by phone. A proposed vote at the end of that meeting was shuttled in favor of waiting a few days, and in those short few days, Extraction filed a Temporary Restraining Order. It remains to be seen if the City Council will now vote as they originally indicated, passing a Public Health Order that would require flowback be delayed during the pandemic, and more specifically while the Governor’s stay-at-home order is in place.

Do you want to see a Public Health Order adopted during the COVID pandemic? If yes, write to City Council today expressing why you believe this order should be adopted and why having flowback occurring during a respiratory pandemic is concerning to you.

 To read the full response from the Judge, click here.

To read the complaint containing the breach of contract allegations made by Extraction, click here.