Broomfield 301 Presents Petition with 566 Signatures and COGA Sends Email To The City: Impact Unknown As First Vote on Oil and Gas Regulations Moved to May 8

At the beginning of the April 24 meeting, Council voted unanimously to postpone the first reading of the Oil and Gas Regulations until the May 8 Council Meeting.  Item 11f Ordinance No. 2067 Amending Certain Sections of the Broomfield Municipal Code Concerning Broomfield Oil and Gas Regulations – First Reading had been the subject of much citizen criticism up to that point, and from a completely different perspective the Colorado Oil and Gas Association (COGA) had also just sent a letter objecting to the oil and gas regulations.

Laurie Anderson of Broomfield 301 Health and Safety First presented a citizen petition with 566 signatures to “request that the City of Broomfield uphold Charter Amendment 301 to ensure oil and gas development that does not adversely impact the health, safety, and welfare of Broomfield’s residents.”  She also read a series of requested actions steps to be taken by the City related to delaying the oil and gas regulations and Extraction’s Comprehensive Drilling Plan until they meet the standards of protecting health and safety intended by the passage of 301.  Ms. Anderson reminded Council that they “have more power as a City than you think and to take that into consideration.”  The petition was distributed to Council and petition signatures were still being gathered, according to Ms. Anderson.

Hard copies of an email from the Colorado Oil and Gas Association (COGA) to Council were available at the April 24 Council meeting.  The COGA email stated that, “Portions of the proposed changes conflict with State regulations, and likely are operationally preempted either facially or on an as-applied basis.”  COGA referred to themselves as a “stakeholder” and stated that “COGA’s Community Outreach Coordinator will be reaching out” to each Council Member for discussion of their views.

Representatives of Broomfield 301 Health and Safety First met with City Staff on April 23 to discuss their recommended changes to the draft oil and gas regulations. The 301 Committee’s written comments were included on page 171-176 of Item 11f in the Council Agenda packet.

During Citizen Comments, Cristen Logan asked Council to enact the most stringent regulations possible.  She suggested that Council consider that the Colorado Supreme Court ruling in Longmont v. COGCC stated that “we find nothing in the statutory text of [the Oil and Gas Conservation Act] to support the total preemption of a county’s authority to enact land-use regulations applicable to oil and gas development and operational activities within the county.”

Anthem Ranch resident Marty Robinson stated that he “had been watching closely a small but vocal group of people” whose efforts were “beyond the pale.”  He asked Council “not to be deterred” and “to get on with the job” of passing the regulations.

Council Member Elizabeth Law-Evans reported that she and Council Member Kimberly Groom attended the 6th Annual Energy and Environment Symposium in Rifle the previous week and found it valuable.  She stated that her fifty pages of notes and slide pictures from the event would be uploaded onto the City website on April 26.  She especially encouraged people to review the presentation of COGA Legal Counsel Mark Matthews who critiqued performance based standards as presenting conflicts when applied.  Council Member Groom said that she would be happy to sit down and speak with anyone about the topics in the report.

Council also voted unanimously to support HB 18-1352 Oil and Gas Facilities From School Property.  According to Item 13d on the Agenda, “The bill changes the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission’s current 1,000-foot setback from the school building to a 1,000-foot setback from the school property boundary – meaning that playgrounds, school tracks, and soccer fields will receive the 1,000 foot setback protection from oil and gas operations.”  Council Member Castriotta will represent the City by testifying for the bill on Thursday, April 26 at 1:30 pm in the House Health, Insurance and Environment Committee.

Also, in an April 24 Oil and Gas Update document posted on the City’s oil and gas webpage, there was an announcement that on April 16 Crestone notified the City of a 16 well pad in Erie (click here to view the map).  The update stated that, “The estimated distance of nearest wellhead to an Anthem Ranch home is 1,366 feet, Anthem Highlands home is 1,467 feet, and to the nearest home in Erie, where the well pad will be located is 542 feet.”  This appeared to be part of the resolution of a contested spacing unit between Crestone and Extraction just north of Anthem Ranch.  It was not clear yet if Extraction will drill south into Anthem Ranch from the area that remains in their control.

Extraction also recently responded to the City’s request for a further explanation of the cause of the Windsor accident.  Their response can be found here. The letter from Eric Jacobsen detailed steps taken and ended with  “two key points: (i) we have addressed all probable contributing factors to the Windsor Incident across all our operations now and into the future and (ii) the scope, scale and duration of our temporary flowback operations in Broomfield are of a considerably smaller scale compared to those at the Windsor Incident.”

On April 17, the City received an updated version of the Comprehensive Drilling Plan (CDP) from Extraction as required by the Operator Agreement. The City’s April 24 Oil and Gas Update stated that the City staff is reviewing the document in order to respond to Extraction.

Council Member Bette Erickson reminded the public that the second Mayor’s Conversation on Oil and Gas would take place on Friday, May 4 from 5:15 pm – 6:15 pm.