HAZID and Oil and Gas Regulation Revisions Likely on May 14 Study Session Agenda

At the April 9 Council Meeting, Staff sought directions from Council on two oil and gas items:

The next follow-up to both of these oil and gas items may occur at a Study Session on Tuesday, May 14.  At that time, there are tentative plans for DNV GL USA to return to Broomfield to answer Council questions about the HAZID (hazard identification) which they facilitated for the Extraction project.  Since City and County of Broomfield (CCOB) Attorney Sullivan also stated that it was urgent because of pending permits to revisit the July 2018 Broomfield Oil and Gas Regulations and other code in light of the April 3 passage of SB19-181 Protect Public Health in Oil and Gas Operations, May 14 may also be the first Study Session to consider those revisions.

Item 7h to consider an additional $96,900 in 2019 expenditures for DNV GL USA included $14,700 for travel and other expenses for three employees to do the Study Session, which Council Member Kreeger said he felt “held hostage” to support in order to get many questions answered.  Council Member Castriotta pointed out that there were many missteps in the incomplete HAZID report, including lack of local statistics and health and safety risks.  The vote was 6-1 in favor, with “Yes” by Council Members Beacom, Erickson, Groom, Kreeger, Law-Evans and Shelton and “No” by Council Member Castriotta.  Council Member Tessier was absent and Council Members Shaff and Jezerski were temporarily out of the room. Since May 14 was the only day that the consultants could make it and May 14 was already scheduled as a Council Meeting, it is very likely that May 14 will be swapped to be a Study Session and May 21 & 28 will be back-to-back Council Meetings.  

At 10:45 pm, CCOB Attorney Sullivan began his report by stating that SB19-181 had “given local authorities more ability to regulate oil and gas” development and “reduced the preemption previously in effect by state legislation.”  Staff had begun to look at regulatory recommendations previously set aside from the Oil and Gas Task Force, along with charging fees and regulatory fines.  He stated that consideration of these revisions was urgent because of the pending Crestone Goltl Pad application.  Council Member Castriotta pointed out that the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) had put in a pause on permit processing and Adams County had voted in a 6 month moratorium, so she wondered if Broomfield should do something similar.  Council Member Shelton suggested that might be used as a contingency if Crestone would not agree to wait for the regulations to be updated. 

CCOB Attorney Sullivan stated that they would likely have to engage with outside consulting resources.  Council Members Jezerski and Law-Evans asked for the Staff to provide a matrix of what “we can do under the new law.”  Council Member Law-Evans also stated that everyone “should not lose sight” that “the bill [181] was built on the backs of the folks on the Broomfield Task Force.”  She did not specify as to which provisions of the bill she was referring.  Council Member Kreeger asked for an increase in communication between Staff and Council Members during the revision process.

Council Member Beacom referred to “uncertainty in people’s minds” and “false expectations of citizens” regarding SB19-181’s impact on the Extraction project.  Council Member Law-Evans asked CCOB Attorney Sullivan to repeat his statement that SB19-181 would not apply retroactively to the Extraction project. 

Mayor Ahrens suggested that the first Council discussion of revisions to the Oil and Gas Regulations could be done at the May 14 Study Session, along with the HAZID review.  Staff will get back to Council to confirm those plans.