Broomfield City Council Approves 2000-foot Setbacks for Oil and Gas Operations

On Tuesday, 5/12/2020, Broomfield improved upon the state’s 500-foot setback by voting in a 2,000-foot setback for any future oil and gas operations proposed within the city/ county of Broomfield. According to the Broomfield Enterprise, “The ordinance, which takes effect May 24 , states no oil and gas operation containing a well can be closer than 2,000 feet from the nearest lot line for athletic fields, amphitheaters, auditoriums, child care and correctional facilities, dwelling units, event centers, hospitals, life care institutions, nursing homes and facilities, recreational facilities, schools or undeveloped residential lots.”

Council Member Jean Lim emphasized the uncertainty that residents living near these operations face daily, especially in relation to their own health and safety. She quoted Kristy Richardson, a toxicologist with the Colorado Department of Health, who pointed to how many unknown compounds are released by these industrial operations that have no health guidelines and are largely unstudied.

New considerations for oil and gas developments also will only allow zoning of these industrial operations to districts with “appropriate and compatible” land uses. This would likely include industrial, agricultural, and general aviation districts.

Concerned citizens worry that the damage to Broomfield and the surrounding area has already been done as residents of Anthem, Anthem Ranch, Wildgrass, Adams County, and others have been victims to excessive odors, noise, traffic violations, environmental disturbances, and the overall overtaking of open space that is valuable to the community. The new ordinance only applies to future drilling in Broomfield.

The city council also approved the first reading of a six-month extension to the moratorium on processing and/or approving oil and gas applications. “Although the temporary moratorium has given Broomfield some time to draft needed amendments to its oil and gas and other land use regulations, because of the COVID-19 emergency, which has delayed the regular business of City Council and of the (Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission), additional time is needed to complete the revisions to the new regulations and present them to City Council for adoption,” the city stated in a Council memo.

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