Council Directs Staff to Protest Crestone Acme Pad COGCC Permits

At the November 27 Council Meeting, Broomfield City Council directed Staff to protest the Crestone Acme Pad COGCC Form 2A and 2 drilling permits, while at the same time recognizing that the COGCC would have to make an exception in granting neighboring Broomfield the right to protest since the Acme Pad would be sited in Erie.  This pad would greatly impact Anthem Ranch, Anthem Highlands, and Erie residents who live near its location at the corner of Highway 7 and Bonanza Drive.  It was approved by Erie on Nov. 4 in their Operator Agreement with Crestone and Erie is prohibited from protesting any permits as part of its agreement.

Public comments from Rachel Balkcom of Erie and Lizzie Lario of Wildgrass both supported the protest by Broomfield.  Rachel Balkcom pointed out that Erie Board of Trustees used a “clunky process” where the Operator Agreement was approved without the Trustees ever having the opportunity to read the Crestone Acme Pad drilling permit applications or having examined related issues like historical surface mining, airport proximity or prevailing winds that would take VOCs into Anthem Ranch.  Lizzie Lario asked Council to support the protest for her friends in the two Anthem neighborhoods and the children who attend Prospect Ridge and Thunder Vista, as that area “would literally be surrounded by over 100 fracking wells.”

When Staff appeared ready to go on with other matters after those public comments, Council Member Shaff asked if Staff had been given adequate directions by Council on the Acme Pad as requested in Item 13e on the agenda.  CCOB Attorney Sullivan said not, and Council Member Shaff then led off the Council comments with his support for Broomfield to protest.  Council Member Beacom stated that “we need to do the strongest push we can” because “Crestone needs to know we are serious for the future.”  This was an obvious reference to the lawsuit that the City filed on October 2 against the COGCC for permitting the Crestone Gotl Pad spacing unit and Broomfield’s dissatisfaction with their previous negotiations with Crestone.  Council Members Tessier and Groom later seconded this support for “playing hardball” with Crestone.

Council Member Shelton asked Staff for a Best Management Practice (BMP) gap analysis comparing the Crestone-Erie Operator Agreement and the Broomfield-Extraction Operator Agreement.  Council Member Castriotta strongly supported the protest, pointing to the “trapped” Anthem Ranch people between the Livingston and Acme pads and all the truck traffic which will clog State Highway 7.  Council Member Tessier indicated that this situation pointed to the need for the COGCC to allow neighboring communities to have standing in hearings and take a regional perspective in permitting.  She added, “The COGCC puts everyone in a box and we’re not little boxes” because “there is no invisible force field between municipalities that prevents wind, water, or soil contamination from crossing borders.”

Council Member Tessier stated that the Erie Board of Trustees seemed to nod when she commented at their Nov. 4 Meeting that Broomfield would be willing to consult on BMPs.  However, Attorney Sullivan pointed out that on the question of protesting the Crestone permits, Erie could not invite Broomfield to do that due to their restriction in the Operator Agreement with Crestone.  Attorney Sullivan summarized the direction of Council by stating that Broomfield will comment and request a hearing in bringing Broomfield’s issues forward.  Council also threw out some preliminary ideas about writing a regional letter to garner support at the State for COGCC reform.

Citizens can also comment on the Acme Pad Form 2s by December 5 and the Form 2A COGCC permit by December 30.  Please see further details in our blog here.