Letter to Council on Spacing Unit Application Protest for Oct. 31 COGCC Meeting

Background:  During the Citizen Comments in the morning portion of the October 30 State (COGCC) Hearing, Adams County’s great questions during Citizen Comments about the location of the wells caused some of the COGCC Commissioners to request a full hearing of all the Extraction applications on October 31.  Since the Commissioners now want to reserve the right to do an alternative site analysis for the Extraction pads in examining the drilling applications later, Broomfield’s Operator Agreement specifying the number and location of the wells can no longer be attached in its current form to the spacing applications under review tomorrow.

This letter was sent to City Council on the evening of October 30.

Dear City Council –

This letter is being sent to you by Broomfield citizens who participated in the COGCC Spacing Unit Application Hearing in its entirety today.  Given the turn of events today, we expect that Broomfield will be rejoining the spacing unit application tomorrow.

You may not yet be aware of what happened at the hearing today, but the COGCC removed the Extraction spacing applications from the consent agenda. Instead they will be discussed on the docket tomorrow.

The issue in question is that the proposed orders for the spacing unit applications are tied to the Broomfield Operator Agreement, which defines well locations and number of wells.  Well locations and the specific number of wells to be drilled are normally addressed during the Form 2A well permit hearing, not during the spacing unit application hearing.  Extraction and the City can’t link the Operator Agreement to the spacing unit application without handcuffing the COGCC in their Form 2A hearing. This created concerns from multiple commissioners.

The Settlement Agreement between Extraction and the Broomfield City Council says:

  1. The City Shall Not Object. As long as the Operator is in compliance with the New Agreements and any future Easement Grant and for purposes related to the Project, the City agrees that it will: (i) not object to, request a hearing on, or oppose any permits, applications, variances, waivers, or other related documents submitted by Operator to any local, state or federal agencies, including but not limited to, COGCC spacing applications covering the Spacing Areas (subject to the last two sentences of this paragraph), COGCC pooling applications or applications for permits to drill such as COGCC Form 2 and Form 2A: (ii) not object in any forum to any aspect or phase of the Project, including the number of wells planned at or the location of each Well Site; and (iii) provide such other written approvals, variances, and/or waivers as reasonably requested by Operator and consistent with the New Agreements. The Parties acknowledge that the City is currently protesting Operator’s spacing and density applications related to the project, specifically COGCC docket numbers 170900596, 170900598, 170900601, 170900602, 170900603, 170900605, 171000749, and 171000752 (the “Protests”). The City agrees to withdraw the Protests so long as Operator’s applications and proposed orders are consistent with the number of wells and locations described in the New Agreements.

Overnight, Extraction is expected to produce amended spacing unit applications that remove the link to the Operator Agreement and violate the Settlement Agreement presented above.  The updated spacing unit applications will go back to generic agreements for “up to 20 wells” and will not define specific well locations and counts as required.

Given that the Operator Agreement cannot be updated without a vote by the City Council, it is our expectation that the City will rejoin the protest tomorrow.

Additionally, changing the COGCC spacing unit applications requires notice to all impacted mineral rights owners. As this impacts many Broomfield residents that are not aware of this change, it’s our expectation that the City’s protest tomorrow will include a requirement that these spacing unit applications be delayed to allow adequate notice to all impacted parties.

Finally, we renew our plea that the City engage their Oil and Gas Attorney to lead these efforts for Oil and Gas contract negotiations. Today’s failure is an example of what goes wrong when the language is not in alignment with the state processes.  These spacing unit applications / Operator Agreement mismatches and other mistakes are exactly why a specialist is needed. This is the concern that we raised at the City Council meeting and reiterate now.  This is a complex issue.

We extend our sincere gratitude to Councilmembers Kreeger and Tessier for their testimony today and encourage the rest of you to participate in this process and stand with your citizens.

 

Sincerely,

Bill Young

Jean Lim

Elizabeth Lario

Alexis Marsh-Holschen

Vince Miller

Krista Powell

Laurie Anderson

Andy Kramer

Suzanne Kent

Lynette Vesco