We have received answers to the questions we posed to the City/County of Broomfield on 6/18/2020. Answers were posted on 6/22/2020. The questions below are followed by the answers in bold. Please remember that the answers come from the City/County of Broomfield (CCOB) and not from Broomfield Concerned. If you have concerns about the specificity, accuracy, or overall integrity of the answers, please reach out to the City Council (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Broomfield Concerned is verifying whether the mineral rights of the Nordstrom open space were owned by the City or owned by Extraction.
1) What financial review process did the city go through before allowing Extraction to operate in CCOB, including the right to mine minerals on designated open space?
Under Colorado law at the time (and to a more limited extent today), mineral owners had the right to surface access to property to extract their mineral interests. The Colorado Supreme Court had determined that the State law and regulations through the COGCC pre-empted local laws that conflicted with state laws and regulations. Broomfield could not legally prohibit Extraction or another operator from accessing its minerals on open space. Nor was the financial condition of an oil and gas company a basis for prohibiting oil and gas extraction.
2) What indicators led CCOB to believe Extraction was financially stable and not in any financial straits? Or was CCOB aware of the potential of financial issues?
Please see answer to #1 above.
3) Was “financial stability” part of the risk analysis? If no, why not?
The purpose of the risk assessment was to review safeguards and best management practices and to suggest additional best management practices and safeguards for the protection of public health and safety.
4) What financial burden can taxpayers expect to shoulder now that XOG is filing chapter 11 and restructuring?
If Extraction restructures in Chapter 11, operations will continue under the terms of Operator Agreement including the best management practices and the CDP. There should be no additional burden on the taxpayers other than legal expenses associated with safeguarding Broomfield and its residents interest during the bankruptcy proceeding. In a worst case scenario, if the bankruptcy becomes a chapter 7 bankruptcy then any orphan wells will become the responsibility of the State of Colorado to address.
5a) Will tax revenues owed to the city from XOG still be paid? 5b) Are they past due on any money owed to the city?
5a) The bankruptcy court approved a motion last week authorizing Extraction to pay its taxes owed. In bankruptcy, taxes have a priority lien for payment.
5b) Extraction is not past due on any amount owed the Broomfield. Follow up comment: Extraction is not past due on any amount owed to Broomfield under the Operator Agreement, but for $2,584.40 for a section of pipeline easement.
6) What overall impact can Broomfield residents, especially those closest to the development sites, expect to bear moving forward due to the chapter 11 filing?
6) The Operator Agreement remains in place.
7a) For impacted residents, especially those who have had recorded chemical exposures and are consistently experiencing health impacts, what safeguards are in place should clusters of cancer or other fracking-related health impacts begin to arise over the past few years? 7b) Who is accountable for addressing the financial impacts of evolving health impacts from this development?
7a) CCOB’s Public Health and Environment Department continues to investigate reported health concerns. Symptom data is being analyzed alongside air quality monitoring data to better understand if compounds in air are related to the health symptoms reported.
7b) Any ill effects tortiously caused by the activities of a private company are its responsibility.