Adams 12 School Board Postpones Decision on Oil and Gas Lease Offers To Deliberate Further

The Adams 12 School Board came out of Executive Session at its November 14 Meeting and immediately moved to not go forward with the previously recommended motion to accept an oil and gas lease offer for the minerals under Coyote Ridge and Prairie Hills Elementary Schools. Instead, the Board unanimously passed a motion to listen to public comments but to take no action that night due to their desire for further deliberations over the next several meetings.

Over 370 concerned parents of Adams 12 students and taxpayers signed a petition in two days to ask the Board to consider whether or not it would be in the best interest of the school children’s health and safety for the District to sign a lease offer for their minerals.  Broomfield resident Heidi Hinkel presented the requests in the petition, adding that if the District received money from oil and gas after signing a lease that they consider using that money to educate their students about renewable energy and climate change.  A Prairie Hills parent suggested that if the Board decided to sign a lease that they invest in air quality monitoring equipment for the schools and education for the children on why it is dangerous for the population to live so close to wells.  Broomfield resident Jean Lim (author) acknowledged the complex decision that the Board had but asked them to also consider their constitutional rights as a factor since it was incomprehensible that a U.S. government entity could be forced pooled and coerced in that manner.  There were no public comments in favor of the District signing the oil and gas leases but Board Member Kathy Plomer stated that they have heard from people in favor of signing.

Special Counsel Matt Sura presented the lease offers that he had negotiated for both schools.  For the 4 acres of Prairie Hills Elementary School, the operator Great Western is giving the District an indefinite amount of time to decide if they want to accept a 22% royalty and $6500 per mineral acre.  For the 4 acres of Coyote Ridge Elementary School, Ferrari Energy offered a 21% royalty and $6500 per mineral acre.  The District does not own the mineral rights for all of its schools.

The Great Western pad near Cherrywood Park subdivision would be 4598 feet from Silver Creek Elementary and 12,000 feet from Prairie Hills.  Extraction’s Livingston Pad would be 4371 feet from Thunder Vista P-8 and 11,775 feet from Coyote Ridge Elementary School.

Special Counsel Sura presented four options to the Board of:

  1. Selling the minerals.
  2. Allowing Adams 12 to be forced pooled.
  3. Fighting forced pooling through a lawsuit.
  4. Signing a lease.

Board Member Plomer pointed out that the District had no direct option to stop the drilling. Special Counsel Sura said that Senate Bill 18-230 on forced pooling regulations changed the landscape as far as previous concerns about liability, while adding that the threshold of the forced pooling law was still unfair but “litigation would not be my advice to you since you all have more important work to do.”  In response to a question from Board Member Batz, Special Counsel Sura also added that he does not think that the forced pooling hearing associated with the minerals of Coyote Ridge will occur on December 17 & 18 as scheduled since Extraction has not properly noticed all mineral owners in the Lowell South Spacing Unit.  Superintendant Gdowski asked if they could negotiate a lease to pay costs of emergency preparation, but Special Counsel Sura said that 4 acres did not give them enough leverage.  Board Member Plomer expressed that their final decision should be guided by “what can we do that will impact the health and safety of students.”