Spotlight on Citizen Comments from CCoB meeting 2/27/2018: Lois Vanderkooi

We’re pleased to spotlight Lois Vanderkooi’s comments from the 2/27/2018 Broomfield City Council meeting. Lois Vanderkooi, PsyD, JD, was a task force member of the Comprehensive Plan update adopted in 2016 and focused on Environmental Stewardship and Community Form and Identity. She became more aware of and invested in community development and sustainability through that work and became a task force member of the Oil and Gas update in 2017. Her interests are community friendliness/connection and health/safety as well as taking care of the natural resources that we all depend on. Here’s what she had to say to the city council:

I believe that the overriding issue is one of trust–we as citizens are having difficulty trusting that COGCC and CCOB will protect our health and safety given the history of oil and gas development in our state and the way the state prioritizes development. That’s why you hear us squawking and challenging you–please don’t take it personally.

We appreciate you working at the state level to change some of the rules, but as you know the rules are old and meant for older rural development and the state has a long ways to go in terms of protecting people in more urban areas. It also lacks resources to adequately regulate and address problems like orphaned wells.  It also hasn’t accepted more recent scientific data on health and fully addressed the fires, explosions, spills, deaths, and injuries this past year.

I and others are frustrated that when we express concerns, raise questions, challenge the state, we are dismissed and not taken seriously.

Case in point:

We appreciate the city asking for an extension of the period in which citizens can make comments to COGCC about Extraction’s drilling plan before state permits are granted, but is that all the city going to do to assure that Extraction does a good job? Many of us read through and gave comments on the drilling plan, and like the city, found it poorly done and not reassuring.

Some of us made comments to the COGCC, and they are not showing up on-line or in the state’s PDF, so we don’t know if the state is going to consider them.

I personally submitted comments on the 18th and got an automatic reply that staff would return the day after the President’s holiday. None of these comments were posted.

I posted again on the 23rd on the two sites. One comment briefly appeared on-line and then disappeared and no comments made it into the PDF.

I posted again on the 26th and nothing showed up.  Some people with Yahoo were getting replies in their spam folder, but nothing was in my spam folder.

What happens on March 1st when comments are closed at 11am?  Do we have any assurance that our comments will be addressed?  Or will COGCC simply approve the permits and the city has no power to influence the director or commissioners in that regard?

We are scared and angry and rightfully so given the history of Extraction and operators in general and how the city at times has felt helpless in not having enough tools to fight for us. And we really want you to fight.