In what’s now unfolding as an ongoing effort to protect public health and safety by the Broomfield City Council and staff, Broomfield has written a letter to Extraction Oil and Gas (XOG), informing them of their breach of contract status due to excessive noise on operating well pads. The effort includes contact with Lt. Governor Dianne Primavera, Lisa Kaufmann (Governors Chief of staff) and Jeff Robbins (Exec Dir. COGCC), all of whom are reported to be responsive and cooperative.
The letter was sent today to Extraction. In part, it states that “Broomfield demands that Extraction cure the breach of contract and bring all operations into compliance with the noise limits set by the Agreement. In addition, until Extraction can put in place the necessary measures to bring its operations within the noise limits, Broomfield demands that Extraction take whatever steps are necessary to abate the noise nuisance immediately. If Extraction fails to abate the noise exceedances immediately, Broomfield will take such legal action and seek such legal or equitable remedies necessary for the protection of health, safety and welfare of our residents as provided for in Section 22 of the Agreement.”
The letter also states that “Data from Broomfield’s noise monitors at 1000 feet from the Livingston Pad show that Extraction’s operations have been exceeding the noise standard set forth in Section 31 of Exhibit B, ‘Best Management Practices for Well Sites and New Wells at the Well Sites.'” A later part of the letter tells more of the story: “Beginning on December 2, 2019, residents of Broomfield began filing complaints about excessive noise coming from operations at the Livingston Well Site. The noise standard at the Livingston South monitoring station is 63 dB(A). Data from the noise monitors at that station show intermittent exceedances of that standard beginning on November 30, 2019 and continuing through today. Tami Yellico has shared this data with your staff and has been working with them to address the issue for that whole time, but so far Extraction has taken no steps to mitigate the noise. ”
The city of Broomfield sent out an announcement on the evening of 12/12/2019 letting the public know of this development. The letter emphasizes the impacts to the residents and the action that the city is taking: “With the measured sound levels and high number of citizen complaints, the City and County of Broomfield is pursuing action, to the fullest extent possible, to cause Extraction to reduce the noise emanating from its sites to levels that comply with the sound maximums set forth in the Operator Agreement and the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC). The enforcement efforts seek to end the exceedances as soon as possible.”
Special thanks were extended from the city manager, Jennifer Hoffman, to Mayor Pat Quinn and Council members Jean Lim and Laurie Anderson in moving this effort forward. After working all day on this effort, Lim expressed this: “I appreciate the action that the City and County has taken to protect area residents’ health and well being, with input from Council Member Anderson and myself. In addition to the demand letter sent to Extraction, the City and County issued a letter to residents expressing their regrets for the delay in their response, an important step in acknowledging that our priorities should always be the well being of area residents.”
Multiple complaints of noise have been submitted to the city over the past several weeks, but residents near Livingston have been complaining on public forums like Nextdoor about the noise being especially impactful these past few days. In complaints filed with the city, residents complain of being kept up all night by the noise. A resident of the Anthem Highlands posted a video to Facebook, representing the high level of noise present by opening her glass door and recording the loud rumbling noise coming off of the Livingston pad. This video was taken in the middle of the nights when most residents are sleeping. This sound is much like that of a passing freight train.
The noise experienced by so many residents near various pads has raised questions of impacts to fundamental wellbeing and the right of residents to quiet, safe spaces to lie and dwell. Several peer reviewed studies have tied noise akin to this to psychological and physical ailments. Another local resident pointed out one of these health studies: “Specific to noise pollution, light pollution, and stress, please reference page 173 of the Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking (Unconventional Gas and Oil Extraction) Sixth Edition June 2019
Drilling and fracking operations and ancillary infrastructure expose workers and nearby residents to continuous noise and light pollution that is sustained for periods lasting many months. Chronic exposure to light at night is linked to adverse health effects, including breast cancer. Sources of fracking-related noise pollution include blasting, drilling, flaring, generators, compressor stations, and truck traffic. Exposure to environmental noise pollution is linked to cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment, and sleep disturbance. In Colorado, noise measured during construction and drilling of a large, multi-well pad in a residential area exceeded levels known to increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases and hypertension.”
If you are experiencing any of these noise disturbances, please report your concerns to the CCOB by filing an immediate concern here :https://www.broomfield.org/2842/File-an-Immediate-Concern.