At the Broomfield City Council Meeting on Oct 24th, after hearing 80+ speakers and multiple motions, the Amended Agreement with Extraction was ultimately approved 6 to 4. City Council agreed to 84 wells: 19 at Livingston (SW corner of Sheridan and Lowell) and 65 along the NW Pkwy between Sheridan and United.
Those for approving the Amended Agreement cited the following reasons:
- Extraction has been negotiating for long enough and agreed to 90% of the Task Force Recommendations
- Allows existing Council to finish the job
- Having Amended Agreement before COGCC Hearings on October 30
- Reverting back to the existing MOU with unlimited wells
Those opposed to approving the Amended Agreement cited these reasons:
- Health and safety concerns
- The Amendment has oversights, gaps, unenforceable statements, and has not been reviewed by outside legal-council
- Adams County has not been given adequate time to provide input on wells moved closer to their homes and away from undeveloped land
- Resolution 2017-29 that formed the Task Force has not been fulfilled
- The City gave up all Royalties and surface use income (estimate at $8.4 million or more) to eliminate 15 wells, but will still incur expenses
- Extraction did not accept all Task Force Recommendations
- Reasonable lease offers not provided to Wildgrass
- Our City is negotiating under duress
- Question 301 is on the Ballot and a new Council will soon take their seats
- City Council Members may not have read and understood the Amendment in its entirety
Although some were glad to see the project finally moving forward, many residents living in close proximity were extremely disappointed and concerned. It was noted during the council meeting that those urging Council to move forward with this project lived miles away from the proposed development, so of course they did not share the same concerns.
So, where do we go from here?
Despite extreme disappointment, concerned residents must keep their incredible momentum moving forward. The approval of the Amended Agreement by City Council is just one step in the process – Extraction does not yet have approval to begin operations! Also, we must not be singularly focused on the current plan, but rather be prepared as other operators will undoubtedly be looking for additional acreage in Broomfield to develop the mineral interests.
Broomfield must be diligent in completing Resolution 2017-29, which formed the Comprehensive Planning Process. Our City cannot have a repeat of 2013 when the citizens put a moratorium in place to allow time for the City to enact oil and gas regulations, yet the 2015 Comprehensive Plan was devoid of a Chapter on Oil and Gas Development. When this aforementioned Resolution is complete, Broomfield will have a process for ALL oil and gas operators to follow that will be protective of the health, safety, and welfare of our community.
Our City Council has already reached out to neighboring jurisdictions. They have crafted a joint letter to Governor Hickenlooper and the COGCC from several cities in a combined effort to initiate Rulemakings or other methods of state implementation. This combined letter states the difficulty our local Governments are facing with large-scale fracking near residential communities. Despite the poor timing, as Council unanimously approved signing on to this Interjurisdictional letter just after approving 84 wells in Broomfield near our residential communities, this interjurisdictional coordination is incredibly valuable.
COGCC Hearing and Permits
The upcoming COGCC Hearing on Monday, Oct 30th is another opportunity for concerned residents to express their concerns directly to the COGCC. The information on speaking at the hearing can be found here.
Extraction must apply for COGCC Permits 2 and 2A before drilling. While the COGCC has never denied a permit, there is a first time for everything!
State Level Changes
The City has committed to pursuing change at the State Level alongside the residents who have already spent countless hours this past legislative session and have learned much about the process. The next legislative session starts soon. There is also the possibility of Rulemakings with the COGCC. State level changes would apply even with the existing agreement in place.
Ballot Question 301
Broomfield has Question 301 on the ballot. This LOCAL initiative which protects the health, safety, and welfare of our community is just as relevant now as it was before. It is essential that our City Council has the ability to protect its residents – for without health and safety, we cannot have quality of life.
Broomfield is incredibly fortunate to have so many residents volunteering their time to protect the health, safety, and welfare of OUR Communities. Please remain engaged and committed as there is much work still to be done. Stand Strong, Broomfield!
By Laurie Anderson, Broomfield Resident