Submit Your Comments on Extraction’s Comprehensive Drilling Plan for the Livingston and Interchange B Pads by Jan. 31

Broomfield residents have shown that they have the dedication and knowledge to provide meaningful contributions to the discussions on oil and gas development in Broomfield.  In recognition of that tremendous effort, you are invited to once again share your concerns with the City. On December 15, Extraction Oil and Gas submitted its Comprehensive Drilling Plan (CDP) and Form 2…

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Please Attend the State (COGCC) Hearings on Monday, December 11

Way to go, Broomfield!  Yes, Broomfield, be proud that things may be moving in a positive direction after the Nov. 7 local elections!  And thank you for your tremendous turnout at the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) hearings on Oct. 30 and 31 to express your concerns related to the Extraction Spacing Unit Applications. However, we still…

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Industry Phone Survey After Passage of 301

Many Broomfield residents are receiving the phone survey described below after the passage of 301. The caller says the survey is sponsored by Target Point Consulting, whose website states that it has consulted for the American Petroleum Institute. (“Energy API” scrolls on the “Our Work” page at the bottom.)  Industry appears to be continuing to pour money into Colorado…

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Broomfield Mayor and City Council Candidate Perspectives

Our Process: As an organization, we came up with five questions we thought the voting public of Broomfield would like to know about the City Council candidates' views on Oil and Gas development. We emailed the questionnaire to each candidate with a specific word limit (400 each question) and deadline. We asked the following questions:

1) Do you have concerns about the proposed residential oil and gas development plans in Broomfield?  If so, what specifically concerns you and what would you do to implement change? If not, please explain why you are satisfied with the proposed plans. 

2) Do you believe that regulations (https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0BxAJnoFWbi4RVGlHRVVKcEQtZ00) that are being recommended by the Comprehensive Plan Update Committee (the “Recommendations”) should be adopted in full in addition to the Comprehensive Plan Chapter even if it means risking litigation?  Please explain why or why not, and cite any specific portions of the Recommendations with which you disagree or find essential.

3) After the City Council decides which Recommendations to adopt, they will need to decide how to implement them.  Do you believe the City Council should only create ordinances for Recommendations that are clearly within the City’s authority, or do you believe the City Council should look for holes in the State’s regulations and create ordinances for those issues, even if it means risking litigation?  Why?

4) If your beliefs and/or political views regarding an issue become at odds with the collective voice of your constituents, how would you proceed with critical decisions despite this conflict?

5) Do you believe that the health, safety, and welfare of Broomfield residents has been protected with respect to oil and gas development decisions to date?  If not, how do you intend to advocate for this protection if you are elected?  If yes, please explain in detail how you believe this has been accomplished and explain if there any improvements you would like to see.

Below are the responses we received. 

Candidate Responses

Mayor: TJ Cole
1. Do you have concerns about the proposed residential oil and gas development plans in Broomfield?  If so, what specifically concerns you and what would you do to implement change? If not, please explain why you are satisfied with the proposed plans.
 
   I have great concerns about the Oil and gas development plans in Broomfield, because I do not believe that as of today they adequately promote and protect the health and safety of the people of Broomfield, and they are not utilizing BEST PRACTICES across the board. Our people and homes need to be protected. Huge industrial operations really have no purpose in  densely populated residential neighborhoods.  While State statutes and policy favor utilization of our natural resources, I firmly believe that the people’s health and safety and the protection of our environment must be maximized. Both can coexist if done appropriately.  When I am elected Mayor, I WILL lead the negotiations on the MOU, IGA, and PBR. While there are Pre-emption issues, I believe that there are specific areas of the Colorado Constitution, and Colorado case law that allows municipalities room to regulate industries located in their area. In areas of ambiguity I would work hard to establish new precedents that work to enhance public safety and health. Where necessary, we can lobby for COGCC rule changes. I will also develop an inter- municipality work group to see where all of us can work together to impact legislation.

 
2. Do you believe that regulations (https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0BxAJnoFWbi4RVGlHRVVKcEQtZ00) that are being recommended by the Comprehensive Plan Update Committee (the “Recommendations”) should be adopted in full in addition to the Comprehensive Plan Chapter even if it means risking litigation?  Please explain why or why not, and cite any specific portions of the Recommendations with which you disagree or find essential.
 
   I think that the work done by the Comprehensive Plan Update Committee  is remarkable, and shows exactly how groups of people can come together to forge agreements that enhance our entire community. I believe that prior to completing any MOU’s or Applications, we need to fully examine them and implement rules and regulations that will provide guidance and enforcement. They will provide the basis for the MOU negotiations.
 
Key provisions in the regulatory recommendations will need to be a part of any agreement.
  • Insurance coverage must remain at the $100 million mark
  • Fines for violations must be significantly higher than $1,000 currently proffered.
  • There must be a contractual obligation to make sure the insurance coverage is extended to  ‘during all operations’.
  • Must have Environmental Impairment Liability/pollution coverage
  • There are other issues such as emergency response, emergency preparedness, inspections, timing, setbacks, and use of alternative sites.  All of these issues are important. Once implemented, If any Business violates those ordinances or contracts, then we as a City and County must enforce them, even if that means litigation.
 
3. After the City Council decides which Recommendations to adopt, they will need to decide how to implement them.  Do you believe the City Council should only create ordinances for Recommendations that are clearly within the City’s authority, or do you believe the City Council should look for holes in the State’s regulations and create ordinances for those issues, even if it means risking litigation?  Why?
 
   The City Council must create ordinances that protect the Health, Safety, and Environment of the People of Broomfield and as such, City council must use ALL legal means at its disposal to do so. If there are statutes and case law that support our positions then we are obligated as Civil Servants to use them.
 
4. If your beliefs and/or political views regarding an issue become at odds with the collective voice of your constituents, how would you proceed with critical decisions despite this conflict?
 
Public Discourse is essential to our constitutional democracy. We must always afford  ALL citizens a voice in our decision making process. As Mayor, I would have to always make sure that I facilitate a fair process and be inclusive. There will be times when my personal beliefs may different from those of my community. When those situations arise, I will certainly re-examine my personal opinions, and barring the issue being something which impacts my civil rights, or our health and safety, I most likely would vote in favor of the people.
 
 
 5. Do you believe that the health, safety, and welfare of Broomfield residents has been protected with respect to oil and gas development decisions to date?  If not, how do you intend to advocate for this protection if you are elected?  If yes, please explain in detail how you believe this has been accomplished and explain if there any improvements you would like to see.
 
The previous MOU’s and current proposals are severely lacking in protocols that protect the health, safety and welfare of Broomfield citizens. Specifically, the insurance requirement needs to be much higher as suggested by the Update committee. I also believe that the enforcement fines need to be significantly higher to encourage stricter compliance. I also am concerned that the current MOU does not have any resolutions on transportation and impact fees, variances and modifications and many other sections which remain ambiguous. Ambiguity leads to unnecessary conflicts and is costly.  I also agree with the update committee in their concerns about the lack of use of their alternative site analysis.  As Mayor, I WILL advocate and fight for an agreement that does address our concerns. Our Comprehensive Plan Update committee has done a good job of weighing and balancing the approaches to solving the outstanding issues, and we need to use these recommendations to forge good ordinances and MOU’s. We Can, and We Will achieve a good agreement.
 
The City Council of Broomfield must be the People’s champion. It must work on their behalf to uphold our values and safety.
Ward 1: James Holschen

1) Do you have concerns about the proposed residential oil and gas development plans in Broomfield?  If so, what specifically concerns you and what would you do to implement change? If not, please explain why you are satisfied with the proposed plans. 

I have serious concerns regarding the proposed plans in Broomfield, especially now, given that they are trying to push through the MOU prior to the election.  The current proposal does not address the serious concerns that residents have regarding the proximity to our homes, school, or reservoir.  In fact, the newest version is even closer to the reservoir site than before.  In addition, the Huron and United Pads were dropped, and instead, split up, and moved even closer to residences and schools.  Bottom line, the proposal is not anywhere close to ready to be voted on by Council.  The Task Force process must be completed before any projects move forward.  This includes the Comprehensive Plan Chapter being adopted as well as any and all ordinances and regulations be fully enacted and in place.   Only then, should an operator’s plan be considered.  To implement this I would not enter into any agreement or allow the cities approval process move forward on any operation until we had sufficient time to debate the merits of proposed ordinances in open, public meetings, allowing the public to have input on any such changes.   Only after this is completed will I vote to allow the approval process on any particular plan to move forward.

2) Do you believe that regulations (https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0BxAJnoFWbi4RVGlHRVVKcEQtZ00) that are being recommended by the Comprehensive Plan Update Committee (the “Recommendations”) should be adopted in full in addition to the Comprehensive Plan Chapter even if it means risking litigation?  Please explain why or why not, and cite any specific portions of the Recommendations with which you disagree or find essential. 

The Task force did an amazing job given the time crunch that they were pushed into.  The proposed comp plan chapter that they have put forward is a great step in the process of ensuring the health and safety of the people of Broomfield.  I do believe that is should be adopted in full, however, I do feel that it does not go far enough in several areas.  I recognize the hard work and compromise that went into the proposal, but I am not comfortable with the setback matrix as is and I would like to see additional requirements to plug and abandon all vertical wells within a spacing unit prior to drilling.  The setback matrix for example allows a loophole of splitting up well pads and having a greater number of wells close to homes as was originally imagined.  This loophole is demonstrated by the most recent proposal.  This must be addressed before the comp plan is adopted.  The whole idea in my mind was to plan where we will allow pads within the city of Broomfield.  While the setbacks and alternative site matrix are a good step, I believe a zoning model would be much more effective.  CCOB should create a specific zoning designation for O&G drilling and then only zone those areas which we find acceptable within the setback model.  What this would accomplish is to have a few, limited number of larger well pads, placed in strategic areas, while plugging all other wells within the city limits.  O&G drilling would not be allowed anywhere else within the city limits.  Not only does zoning fall within the city’s jurisdiction, but it allows operators to reach their mineral rights as they have the technology to drill horizontally up to 2 miles.

3) After the City Council decides which Recommendations to adopt, they will need to decide how to implement them.  Do you believe the City Council should only create ordinances for Recommendations that are clearly within the City’s authority, or do you believe the City Council should look for holes in the State’s regulations and create ordinances for those issues, even if it means risking litigation?  Why?

Ordinances are the preferred method of enforcing the task force recommendations.  Ordinances are binding on all operators and allow a fair, transparent process that operators must follow.  In addition, ordinances can be changed by an open process if the need arises.  MOUs bind the hands of the city to be adaptive to the changing needs of the community and changing technology.  In addition, we will push the State to allow greater control of operations.  If we are bound by an MOU and the state changes the laws to allow greater local control, then we would not have the ability to adapt our rule, instead we would be bound by the previous MOU.  Furthermore, we see first-hand the problems that our previous MOUs are causing us in dealing with this current proposal.  I do not support an MOU in most circumstances and will vote to adopt the task force recommendations via ordinance.

4) If your beliefs and/or political views regarding an issue become at odds with the collective voice of your constituents, how would you proceed with critical decisions despite this conflict?

Ultimately, we live in a representative democracy, meaning that the people vote public official into office to make the best decisions that they can given the available information.  “The collective voice” is a difficult thing to get a good handle on without a poll of every single voting member of a community.  When elected I will make the best decision as I see it with the information available to me.  That being said, I am one man, with a limited amount of time.  That means there is no way that I can be an expert on every topic which comes before Council.  Listening to the voices of the constituents is the very first place an elected official should start when reaching a decision.  I do not promise to always vote in line with how some or even all of my constituents want.  I do promise however to listen to all people, first and foremost the people of Broomfield, and make the very best decision that I can for all members of the community, not just the special interests.

5) Do you believe that the health, safety, and welfare of Broomfield residents has been protected with respect to oil and gas development decisions to date?  If not, how do you intend to advocate for this protection if you are elected?  If yes, please explain in detail how you believe this has been accomplished and explain if there any improvements you would like to see.

No.  I believe Broomfield has been run for many years with a good-old-boy mentality which puts the interests of the connected above the interest of the community.  You hear the term, “The Broomfield Way” kicked around a lot.  Some of those who use it, purport it to mean civility, compromise, and respect in public discourse.  That is what they purport, in reality however, many of its supports mean just the opposite.  To them, it is code for “We” know better than “You” because “We” have been here longer.  It is the attempt by the establishment elite of Broomfield to silence any an all who disagree with them.  To quote one well-known supporter: “I am tired of YOU people moving into MY town and trying to change things.”  This mentality also is a status-quo thinking which values getting along above standing up for the people of Broomfield.  This mindset is behind the statements of “There is nothing we can do” or “We have no tools.”  It is this appeasement, defeatist attitude that is threatening the health and safety of the people of Broomfield.  When elected I will fight for the people of Broomfield with every legal means to not allow dangerous industrial operations so near to our children and families.  Let us remember,  this debate is not about a “responsible energy developer” who is serving some noble national purpose.  This is multi-million dollar companies trying to line their pockets on the backs of the people while they still have the chance.  Oil and Gas are dying industries. Technology is advancing at such a rapid rate, in 20 years we will no longer be having this debate.  This is not about need, it is about profit.  It is about a well-connected industry using their political muscle to bully communities into submission.  I will not allow that to happen.  It is time to take a stand.  It is time for true leadership!

Ward 3: Deven Shaff
1) Do you have concerns about the proposed residential oil and gas development plans in Broomfield?  If so, what specifically concerns you and what would you do to implement change? If not, please explain why you are satisfied with the proposed plans.
 
In June of 2016, I insisted to Council we not pass the Addendum to the MOU with Extraction Oil and Gas to place an unprecedented number of wells on an unprecedented size of well pad. This disastrous plan was passed unanimously. At the same time, I was advocating to include oil and gas development in the Comprehensive Plan that was being developed. I was told this was not the appropriate place for oil and gas development. But here we are presented with the real possibility of oil and gas development in our community. Large operations of any kind, especially oil and gas development have no place in our residential neighborhoods, next to our schools, or near our water sources. We are at the point where we must use every tool to stand against this powerful industry while also bringing our fight to the state. We must pass the Comprehensive Plan Task-Force recommendations and use them as minimum standards to stand on, not with which to negotiate. We must support and pass the Citizen Initiative 301 to require our City and County leaders to first ensure public health and safety before any decision is made with regard to oil and gas development or any other large industrial operation. We should not back down simply because threat of lawsuit or court challenge. We must do everything we can to protect our residents and our environment.
 
2) Do you believe that regulations (https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0BxAJnoFWbi4RVGlHRVVKcEQtZ00) that are being recommended by the Comprehensive Plan Update Committee (the “Recommendations”) should be adopted in full in addition to the Comprehensive Plan Chapter even if it means risking litigation?  Please explain why or why not, and cite any specific portions of the Recommendations with which you disagree or find essential.
 
As oil and gas developments have encroached on Broomfield, I have become more concerned over the health, safety, welfare and environmental impacts of the industry. Our community must continue to strive to protect the safety of our residential neighborhoods from the intrusion of industrial operations. We also have a moral obligation to be great stewards of our Earth including our lands, resources, air, and water. Recognizing the challenges facing our community due to the advancement of oil and gas development, we need to have a higher standard to protect our community. The Comprehensive Plan Update Committee's recommended goals and policies provide safeguards for the health, safety, and welfare of all residents of Broomfield. They also provide guidelines for the City Council to pursue changes to the local, state, and federal laws and regulations. I support the committee's recommended goals and policies and I will work to see these new standards are not compromised in the future but improved as technological advancements are made in the oil and gas industry.
 
3) After the City Council decides which Recommendations to adopt, they will need to decide how to implement them.  Do you believe the City Council should only create ordinances for Recommendations that are clearly within the City’s authority, or do you believe the City Council should look for holes in the State’s regulations and create ordinances for those issues, even if it means risking litigation?  Why?
 
We must use the approved Comprehensive Plan Task-Force recommendations and use them as minimum standards to stand on, not with which to negotiate. The resolution to create the Comprehensive Plan Update Task-Force states, “despite improved technology, standards, and oversight there are still occurrences of ‘blow-outs’ and spills that affect property, environment and cause nearby resident evacuations. COGCC lists over 4000 incidents in the state of Colorado since 2014, with one recent event extending to 2000 feet.” Broomfield must keep their priority to keep the “citizen trust in the protection of the health, safety and the economic well-being of the citizens of Broomfield.” And I would even add, as our current chapter on oil and gas development states, “our core values include social responsibility and equity and environmental stewardship for the sake of current residents and future generations.” To keep both of these priorities to the residents of Broomfield and our environment, our City Council should create ordinances where holes exist in the State’s regulations.
 
4) If your beliefs and/or political views regarding an issue become at odds with the collective voice of your constituents, how would you proceed with critical decisions despite this conflict?
 
A major role of our Council is not just to have ideas and solutions, it is being inquisitive and asking questions. We must always seek to further understand the problems that face us, not just trying to discover a quick solution. As I have spent the last 5 months listening and talking with Broomfield residents, I have found common ground and I have also discovered disagreement between my beliefs and/or political views and those held by another resident. When this happens, I am curious to discover a deeper understanding of these views of the resident. By being inquisitive and asking questions, I am able to create a greater level of understanding. In the end, our life experiences or education might prevent us from finding full agreement on an issue, and I believe that by truly listening and engaging with another person in an empathetic way, my viewpoint is more informed.
 
5) Do you believe that the health, safety, and welfare of Broomfield residents has been protected with respect to oil and gas development decisions to date?  If not, how do you intend to advocate for this protection if you are elected?  If yes, please explain in detail how you believe this has been accomplished and explain if there any improvements you would like to see.
 
The City Council, citizens of Broomfield, and the oil and gas industry agree there are major risks with oil and gas development. The level of risk to residents greatly increases as the distance between homes and wells is decreased. At the same time, the risk to residents also increases as the number of wells per well pad increases. At a study session in May 2016, Extraction Oil and Gas presented the total number of wells to be drilled would be 24 wells. Following City Council’s approval of the Addendum to the MOU, Extraction increased this number to 141 wells. The misleading testimony of Extraction Oil and Gas should have been challenged immediately. Also, the Council ignored advice of residents to include oil and gas development in the Comprehensive Plan prior to approving the Addendum to the MOU. Another measure which would have demonstrated protection to residents before agreeing to negotiations with any operator. We now have an approved chapter on oil and gas development included in the Comprehensive Plan. As we move forward, we must use these goals and policies as minimum standards to stand on, not with which to negotiate. In addition, a board or commission concerning oil and gas development should be maintained as the industry and technology continues to rapidly change and the City and County of Broomfield must stay up to date, not always playing catchup.
Ward 4: Jason Anderson
1) Do you have concerns about the proposed residential oil and gas development plans in Broomfield?  If so, what specifically concerns you and what would you do to implement change? If not, please explain why you are satisfied with the proposed plans.
 
I have significant concerns about the Oil and Gas development that has been proposed in Broomfield. I believe Broomfield is a beautiful place to live, work, and enjoy and not an industrial development zone. While I am not opposed to Oil and Gas development in general, I feel the magnitude of the development and proximity to homes is just not right for Broomfield. We need to either significantly reduce total well count or move the pads farther away from homes. The latest proposal that the City Council has been negotiating is headed in the right direction. However, the Lowell/Livingston pad still has a substantial number of wells that are very close and upstream from the future Broomfield reservoir and I think this pad needs to be moved to another, less risky location.
 
2) Do you believe that regulations (https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0BxAJnoFWbi4RVGlHRVVKcEQtZ00) that are being recommended by the Comprehensive Plan Update Committee (the “Recommendations”) should be adopted in full in addition to the Comprehensive Plan Chapter even if it means risking litigation?  Please explain why or why not, and cite any specific portions of the Recommendations with which you disagree or find essential.
 
Yes, I think the amendment to the Comprehensive Plan for Oil and Gas should be adopted in full. There is risk in litigation in any legislation and/or regulations regardless of the merit and I don’t think that is a legitimate reason to refrain from instituting logical regulations that make sense for our community. I believe it is the responsibility of the city council to be courageous in representing our community and making sound, logical, and rational decisions that are in the best interest of our city and residents. Key components of the comprehensive plan that are essential are the set back distances and requirements for alternate site analysis. While the exact numbers are under scrutiny, I believe we fundamentally need more stringent regulations on oil and gas within our community if we are even going to consider allowing it.
 
 3) After the City Council decides which Recommendations to adopt, they will need to decide how to implement them.  Do you believe the City Council should only create ordinances for Recommendations that are clearly within the City’s authority, or do you believe the City Council should look for holes in the State’s regulations and create ordinances for those issues, even if it means risking litigation?  Why?
 
This is paramount question that our council is facing right now. We are confronted by policy changes that are needed at both local and state levels. I think the time is now to institute change and as a city council we need to be courageous in leading the charge in this change. I think this starts with being honest with ourselves with what regulations are truly needed, embracing them, and doing due diligence in understanding the health and safety needs, legal impacts, and possible conflict and/or litigation ramifications. I think we need to start with what is needed for the community and then problem solving – to figure out how to achieve the regulations that are needed. I think in many cases we can convince operators to abide by local rules, simply by negotiating with the affected parties and leading to solutions that they can accept and be happy with. As a prime example – set back distances for well pads. The COGCC only requires 500 ft set backs, The task force has defined a set-back regulations that start at 500ft, but are then scaled based on the number of houses and number of wells. I think this is a great example of starting with state regulations and extending at the local level in a manner that better applies to the local level in a logical manner. This is indeed some risk in litigation because it is more stringent than state restrictions, but they key here is that the regulations make sense. And doing things that make logical sense are worth the litigation battle if it comes to that in court.
 
4) If your beliefs and/or political views regarding an issue become at odds with the collective voice of your constituents, how would you proceed with critical decisions despite this conflict?
 
I believe that representing my constituents is very important and this is an essential reason why I am running for City Council. At the same token, I think it is inevitable that there will be times where we don’t all agree, or I may be confronted with issues that are controversial. My approach would be to talk to our residents and make a genuine effort to understand their view points and concerns. I also think it is important to be empathetic with our residents, when it’s not possible to appease everyone’s concerns by talking and showing that we hear you. For an example, suppose there is a roadway project which will involve widening of the right of way and infringing on residents current lot lines. This might be unpopular with the residents, while being to the benefit of daily commuters. I would advocate a town hall venue for affected residents to voice their concerns, ask questions, and gain information about the proposed project. I would also offer to meet with individual residents and give them the opportunity to talk to me in person. On the surface, this appears like a lot of work, but I think emphasizing with affected citizens and allowing their voice to be heard is a vital part of being a councilman. In cases where I need to vote or take a stance on something that is still at odds with my constituents, I would try to clearly explain that I understand the feeling of the people and why am voting the way that I am. I have a lot of respect for our current council and the way that many of them do this.
 
 5) Do you believe that the health, safety, and welfare of Broomfield residents has been protected with respect to oil and gas development decisions to date?  If not, how do you intend to advocate for this protection if you are elected?  If yes, please explain in detail how you believe this has been accomplished and explain if there any improvements you would like to see.
 
My short answer is not yet, but we are headed in the right direction. I think the task force has made tremendous strides and progress in improving the protection of health and safety of our residents and we are heading in the right direction. However, I believe this has come as a result of enormous pressure from our residents attending council meetings and speaking, engaging in community outreach, and organized efforts of neighborhood groups to advocate for change and increased engagement between our residents and council. I think we need to continue the city’s engagement with policy makers at the state level to institute change that can be implemented at the local level, without continued fear of litigation and override by rulings at the state level. I also think we need to continue the work of the task force and complete core components such as provisions for property value protection and minimum liability insurance requirements of operators. I do think the current council is showing a concerted, increased effort to listen to our citizens and act on their concerns.
Ward 4: Susan Speece
1.Do you have concerns about the proposed residential oil and gas development plans in Broomfield?  If so, what specifically concerns you and what would you do to implement change?  If not, please explain why you are satisfied with the proposed plans.
 
I am honored to have served on the Broomfield Oil and Gas Comprehensive Plan Update Committee.  I believe that we have tried to create standards and protocols that will protect the health, safety and welfare of all Broomfield residents in the event of oil and gas development here.  In light of the recent negotiations for an amended MOU with Extraction Oil and Gas, I am concerned that there are some elements of our guidelines and regulations to which Extraction has yet to agree.  The lack of soil sampling before and during completion is very troublesome.  There are also some questions as to whether or not they will comply with our noise guidelines.
 
In a perfect world, we would only live with renewable resources.  In a semi-perfect world we would live in a state that at least protects the health, safety and welfare of the residents.  Neither of these situations exist in Colorado and thus it is imperative that Broomfield leads the way and creates regulations at both the local and state levels to protect everyone.  The taskforce is committed to taking our regulations to the state, and I see that as a very positive action.
 
But is this all we can do?  From 2001-2011 lived in Pennsylvania.  Over the last several years of my time in PA, the process of drilling the Marcellus Shale began.  Oil and Gas companies rushed in to make a profit off of this newly realized resource – all without consideration of the health, safety and welfare of the residents of PA.  Every community that was positioned over this precious commodity was promised great riches and so the pillaging of the land began.  Soon reports began to surface of horrible environmental degradation and human health problems.  The PA laws, just like Colorado’s laws, had given oil and gas corporations free reign over the environment.  By 2013, however, it was realized that the state had given oil and gas companies rights that should only be used by governmental agencies, i.e., eminent domain and the PA Supreme Court ruled that private companies could not take the resources via eminent domain for profit reasons.  In Colorado we call it forced pooling, but the concept is the same.  Private companies have been given the right to take away individual’s property in order to extract the oil and gas resources.  I offer my experiences in PA, because they have colored my perspective on oil and gas development in Colorado.
 
2.  Do you believe that regulations (https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/OBxAJnoFWbi4RVGIHRVVKcEQtZOO) that are being recommended by the Comprehensive Plan Update Committee (the “Recommendations) should be adopted in full in addition to the Comprehensive Plan Chapter even if it means risking litigation?  Please explain why or why not, and cite any specific portions of the Recommendations with which you disagree or find essential.
 
Without question, the regulations submitted by our Committee should be adopted.  It is a heavy lift because it means new regulations will need to be established at both the local and state levels.  Yet we must support our commitment to protecting the health, safety and welfare of all residents.  # 1.  The application process will immediately weed out operators who do not have the resources or the inclination to protect the health, safety and welfare of all residents.  Broomfield  needs to know that the operator has the financial resources to do their investigations into the area they are proposing to work.  We have required baseline studies and operational plans to assure the community that all precautions will be taken and to know what the current conditions are so that we can tell if negative impacts are happening.  #3.  Set-Backs – this is probably the biggest lift of all because before now, the state regulations have all assumed one well.  In fact, operators are proposing large numbers of wells per pad in close proximity to occupied buildings and recreational spaces.  The state 500’ set-back simply is inadequate to protect residents in the event of any kind of accident on a multi-well pad.  It just is not enough.  Our proposed graded set-backs help to mitigate the risks. #11.  Closed loop and pitless systems are critical.  Without the closed loop, there would be storage tanks that would be used and trucks coming to the tanks on a regular basis to drain the tanks.  I can say with 100% confidence that if you do not have the closed loop system that sends the product into pipelines, every time a valve is opened to fill the tanker trucks you WILL have significant air pollution that will negatively impact residents in the general area.  This just is not an acceptable risk.  #22.  This item ties with #11 and # 35 in that we must protect the air quality where we live.  Unfortunately we live in an ozone none-attainment area.  In part our -attainment is a result of high traffic, high solar radiation and the growing level of oil and gas development.  #29  Water quality – we cannot survive without water and thus our regulations are focused on protecting our precious resource from oil and gas development.  #35  Flow-lines and pipelines are critical in reducing the amount of air pollution as referenced in #11.
 
3.  After the City Council decided which Recommendations to adopt, they will need to decide how to implement them.  Do you believe the City Council should only create ordinances for Recommendations that are clearly within the City’s authority, or do you believe the City Council should look for holes in the State’s regulations and create ordinances for those issues, even if it means risking litigation?  Why?
 
As a member of the Update Committee, I firmly believe in what we created.  There are legal precedents from other states that could help inform what should be done in Colorado.  For example, Robinson Tsp. vs The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania addresses the process of a “taking” of property for corporate gain.  Our concerns about forced pooling could be addressed far more equitably than Colorado currently does.   Local regulations were written in a time when we never imagined multi-well pads in close proximity to residential homes.  As we progress as a society, we must also progress with our laws.  I do not have a problem with writing new laws and even pushing to have new state regulations.
 
As mentioned previously, I believe that Broomfield, along with other municipalities should come together and agree upon state regulations they want to see changed.  I would hope that Broomfield’s and the Committee’s proposed regulations would be the standard the municipalities select and then we could require a mandatory rules making session with COGCC.  Matt Lapor had publically stated that he is waiting for our regulations because of the thoroughness with which we approached this difficult subject.  It will take some time, but there is no better time than NOW to make the necessary changes in both state and local regulations with respect to oil and gas activities. If Broomfield’s guidelines and regulation proposals are not accepted by the state, then I do support the litigation option to protect the health, safety and welfare of the residents of Broomfield.
 
4.  If your beliefs and /or political views regarding an issue become at odds with the collective voice of your constituents, how would you proceed with critical decisions despite this conflict?
 
I would be very surprised if there would be an issue that is unanimously held by all constituents that I would not also agree with.  That having been said, in the event there is a topic upon which there is much disagreement, my first action would be to listen to all points of view.  I do want to listen to my constituents.  I am a scientist, and as such, I would be looking for the data, the facts, and the big picture.  I would want to make decisions based upon facts.  As an educator I also believe in being a lifelong learner, so there is much I can learn from others (my constituents) and from scientific research and those elements would be what would inform my votes.  Voters can count on my clearly stating the basis for making the voting decisions that I make.  Included in my decisions will be the voices of my constituents.
 
5.  Do you believe that the health, safety, and welfare of Broomfield residents have been protected with respect to oil and gas development decisions to date?  If not, how do you intend to advocate for this protection if you are elected?  If yes, please explain in detail how you believe this has been accomplished and explain if there are any improvements you would like to see.
 
The charge to the Comprehensive Plan Oil and Gas Update Committee was:  Given the state’s permissive regulations towards Oil and Gas development, create the guidelines that will protect the health, safety and welfare of all residents of Broomfield in the eventuality of oil and gas development here.  The city has felt bound by state laws that give all power to the oil and gas corporations.  The creation of the Oil and Gas Update Committee was an attempt to find a way to protect the health, safety and welfare of all residents.  I do believe that our committee did try to imagine all scenarios that would require attention and/or regulating.
 
We are now in the middle of our “case study” with Extraction Oil and Gas, Inc.  The City Staff, once our chapter and regulations were submitted to City Council were directed by the City Council to complete the negotiations with Extraction Oil and Gas, Inc. to have an amended MOU in place shortly.  That MOU will not be completed until after the City Council votes the chapter in place.  It is my hope that they will likewise vote in the regulations we proposed.  Yes, there might be some litigation, but that could help strengthen the goals of not only Broomfield, but many other municipalities to protect the health, safety and welfare of all residents.
 
As to whether or not the City is protecting the health, safety and welfare of all residents remains to be seen once the final conditions of the amended MOU are revealed.  It is my sincere hope that the parameters we created will have been followed.
 
It is relevant to note that even if some regulations are not in alignment with state regulations, if an operator agrees to the City’s requests/regulations, you have in effect enacted those regulations and that is a very good way to protect the health, safety and welfare of all residents.
Ward 5: Guyleen Castriotta
1) Do you have concerns about the proposed residential oil and gas development plans in Broomfield?  If so, what specifically concerns you and what would you do to implement change? If not, please explain why you are satisfied with the proposed plans.
 
Large scale oil and gas development has no place in our residential communities and so close to our schools. We must keep these dangerous industrial operations away from densely populated areas. We must keep the pressure on the COGCC to update their rules to protect us from these large multi-well pads that are encroaching on residential neighborhoods. I believe we must take full advantage of our Home Rule Municipality status to regulate these operations in the best interest of our citizens.
 
2) Do you believe that regulations (https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0BxAJnoFWbi4RVGlHRVVKcEQtZ00) that are being recommended by the Comprehensive Plan Update Committee (the “Recommendations”) should be adopted in full in addition to the Comprehensive Plan Chapter even if it means risking litigation?  Please explain why or why not, and cite any specific portions of the Recommendations with which you disagree or find essential.
 
Yes, I believe the Recommendations should be adopted in full even if it means risking litigation. The COGCC rules do not adequately protect the health, safety and welfare of our residents. We must challenge the State’s antiquated regulations and be prepared for a legal battle if need be.
 
3) After the City Council decides which Recommendations to adopt, they will need to decide how to implement them.  Do you believe the City Council should only create ordinances for Recommendations that are clearly within the City’s authority, or do you believe the City Council should look for holes in the State’s regulations and create ordinances for those issues, even if it means risking litigation?  Why?
 
I definitely believe our City Council has an obligation to look for holes in State’s regulations and demand that they be updated to reflect the newest fracking technology. The current setbacks are a joke when you consider these multi-well mega pads being proposed for our residential community.
 
4) If your beliefs and/or political views regarding an issue become at odds with the collective voice of your constituents, how would you proceed with critical decisions despite this conflict?
 
I will do this by making sure the welfare of Broomfield residents takes precedence in making any decisions by our City Council.  I will be an inclusive and courageous voice in the tough conversations and be responsive to the citizens of Broomfield.
 
5) Do you believe that the health, safety, and welfare of Broomfield residents has been protected with respect to oil and gas development decisions to date?  If not, how do you intend to advocate for this protection if you are elected?  If yes, please explain in detail how you believe this has been accomplished and explain if there any improvements you would like to see.
 
I do not believe that the health, safety and welfare of Broomfield residents has been protected based on the decisions made in the past. If elected, I will support and enforce Broomfield’s Comprehensive Plan Chapter on Oil and Gas regulations. I will also prioritize the health and safety of our citizens in any oil and gas decisions. The citizen-powered ballot initiative 301 to amend our home rule charter will also give our local government more tools to safely regulate oil and gas development in Broomfield. Our community efforts to fight residential fracking are making a difference. I refuse to accept that we don’t have the power to change our policies.

All candidates for City Council were invited to participate in our questionnaire process. The following candidates did not submit responses:

Mayor: Randy Ahrens
Ward 1: Elizabeth Law-Evans
Ward 2: Sharon Tessier
Ward 3: Rick Fernandez
Ward 4: Brian Devine
Ward 4: Kimberly Groom (Ruger)
Ward 5: Grayson Joel Hofferber
Ward 5: Karl Honegger

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