Five-Hour Review of the CDP Ends with Questions About Waiting Until July 30

After a five-hour review of the second half of the Comprehensive Drilling Plan, both Mayor Ahrens and City Manager Ozaki agreed that it was “interesting” to think about the problem that Wildgrass resident Mark Lindner had raised much earlier, “How could the City possibly go forward with approval of the Comprehensive Drilling Plan which is tied to specific locations of the pads when the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) has not yet approved all the pad locations?”

In response to this dilemma, City Manager Ozaki tossed out the idea that any COGCC approval by the City would have to be conditional, so that if there was a major change by the COGCC in any pad locations that the CDP would have to change.  What Mr. Lindner and others had suggested in their citizen comments was that the CDP should not be approved until after the results of the hearings on the Interchange and Northwest pad location permits on July 30 or 31.  These hearings were granted by the COGCC at the request of Adams County Commissioners since the Interchange and Northwest Pads were sited very close to Adams County residents.  Prior to the evening’s discussion of the City’s dependence on the July 30 hearings, Council Member Groom had introduced the idea that a July 20 deadline be set for either Staff CDP approval or Staff reporting to Council of what it considered major issues.  No reason was given for the selection of that date.  Extraction had threatened to take legal action if the City did not approve the CDP by July 15.

Also at the end of the evening, Director of Special Initiatives Tami Yellico stated that she had a list of about 40 items to get corrected or cleared up regarding the CDP based on the direction of Council.  (See partial list at the end of this blog.)  There was a frequent refrain heard in Staff’s response to Council questions, “We asked Extraction that question several times, never got a response, but will try again.”  Ms. Yellico also stated that the Staff had several recent verbal agreements from Extraction, but Council Member Shelton stated those should be in writing before he would give his approval to the CDP.

Fourteen citizens signed up to speak consecutively in order to do a thirty minute presentation titled, “The Comprehensive Drilling Plan is Not Complete.”  The gaps they identified in the CDP were an inadequate risk management plan, lack of a proper drainage plan, and that it failed to protect health and safety.  The presenters also stated that issues that needed to be resolved by the City itself before CDP approval included clarification on how all the Best Management Practices (BMPs) would be enforced, the completion of an emergency plan, conditions for CDP approval being met, and assurance that the CDP represented the constituents.  Broomfield resident presenters were Lizzie Lario, Pat Talbot, Charlie Lim, Dr. David Nolan, Bill Young, Laurie Anderson, Becky McLeod, Jason Anderson, Jean Lim, Jennifer Dulles, Candice Spicer, Mark Lindner, Lois Vanderkooi, Cristen Logan and Rosemarie Anderson.

Many Council members amplified the citizen comments in various ways.  Council Member Shaff asked Ms. Yellico when the Staff could have the BMP Gap Analysis completed that was first requested by the citizens on June 12.  Since the COGCC would only attach the BMPs to the permits that it felt it could enforce, that will leave the City to enforce the rest of the BMPs in the Operator Agreement.  Ms. Yellico stated that the Staff would have the Gap Analysis ready in a week.

Consultant Bob Pearson discussed the Air Monitoring Plan at length.  Ms. Yellico stated that the Staff expected to have a recommended Air Monitoring group chosen for Council’s approval at the July 10 Council meeting after the RFP review process had been completed.

During the citizen group presentation, Pat Talbot pointed out the inadequacies of the risk management plan and asked that Extraction identify the probabilities of occurrence of events per pad per year and list all mitigations for these risks.  CCOB Public Health Protection Administrator Laura Davis said it was more important for her to know how to have the necessary mitigations in place for planning purposes than to quantify probabilities.  Ms. Yellico stated that the City had spent time sitting down with Extraction to make sure that the Staff had the mitigation plans for all the risks listed in Extraction’s SEC filing.

Enforcement was an issue brought up as unresolved in many citizen comments.  Although the Staff responded to Council Member Tessier’s questioning that they would respond to citizen complaints in 72 hours, there was no clear strong enforcement mechanism identified that the Staff had at their disposal to make Extraction solve a problem.

Regarding the June 12 Council meeting, Council Member Tessier said that she was “gobsmacked by the whole thing.”  She stated the Extraction VP Eric Jacobsen misstated facts and purposely started the meeting with “posturing, intimidation” and finger-pointing, despite the fact that the City had engaged in good faith negotiations.  Council Member Castriotta asked the question that if Extraction walked away from answering questions on June 12, “What other commitments will they walk away from?”

Council Member Law-Evans pointed out CCOB Attorney Sullivan’s memo to Council regarding last week’s Denver district court ruling in the Bella Romero School case.  Parents sued the COGCC because Extraction’s pad was permitted close to the school.  Council Member Law-Evans emphasized that the judge in that case did not find the Martinez case compelling.  She also asked Laura Davis to explain that the OSHA report on Extraction’s Dec. 22 Windsor explosion did not cite Extraction.

Some of the action items for the Staff from the meeting included:

  • Have Extraction fix the project Gantt chart since power limitations would not enable them to run two rigs at one time.
  • Find out how the noise modeling was done.
  • Why would Extraction run baseline noise tests next to an old compressor?
  • Get all verbal agreements in writing.
  • Will old water samples be used as a baseline?
  • Do a traffic study when school is in session, not over holidays.
  • What kind of materials will the trucks be carrying away from the sites? Page 14 seems to indicate there may be wastewater on the trucks when pipelines are supposed to be used.
  • Will Extraction be using nitrogen in Broomfield like they were recently at a Windsor site that had an accident?
  • Did Extraction have two spills go outside the pad, as cited by the citizen group presentation?