Vote Planned for Emergency Ordinance to Address Noise from Extraction Operations
Author: Jennifer D.
In an attempt to address ongoing noise pollution from oil and gas activities within the city, Broomfield’s City Council will take a critical vote on an Emergency Noise Ordinance during Tuesday evening’s city council meeting. If passed, the ordinance would amend the city’s current noise ordinance — and take effect in 8 days.
The vote has been listed on the agenda as Item 11-i, which means citizen comments on this matter will happen later in the evening. Reported efforts by Mayor Pro Tem Guyleen Castriotta and others may be effective in moving the item to 11-a, allowing impacted residents an earlier opportunity to speak to the matter, without having to remain in chambers late into the evening. While Broomfield Concerned’s editorial team can’t report with certainty whether the agenda item will be moved, it is certain resident letters will be considered. The leadership team is asking residents to write to council on Monday, or on Tuesday prior to 4 p.m. — in addition to attending the meeting in person.
The emergency ordinance has been proposed after continued noise impacts, leaving citizens unable to sleep through the night. Residents across Broomfield in the area of the operations, as well as impacted residents in unincorporated Adams County, have spent months utilizing the numerous public complaints systems operated by the City and County of Broomfield and the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) as well as the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment (CDPHE) — without resolution. City Council members Jean Lim, representing Ward 3, and Laurie Anderson, in Ward 4, have reportedly spent the last several weeks at the city, spearheading attempts to address their constituent’s concerns and navigate a solution to the situation. In mid-December the city cited a breach of the operator agreement in place with between the city and Extraction when noise standards at the Livingston Well site were found to be above allowable levels. This time period was also marked by a significant uptick in noise complaints from residents. In an article from the Broomfield Enterprise it was noted that Broomfield officials had stated there were “more than 80 readings from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11 that were above the established noise thresholds.”
While Extraction did grant the city’s request to cease operations on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, requests to pause operations overnight have been firmly rejected. A meeting with Governor Jared Polis also failed to secure any help in addressing the issue.
The city council’s move to enact an Emergency Noise Ordinance is a measure aimed at expanding the city’s current noise ordinance and providing stronger protections against disruptive noise within city and county limits. Additionally, it would be applicable to all industries in Broomfield — making the ordinance inclusive of any oil and gas operations, not exclusive to oil and gas operations.
Under city council rules emergency ordinances only require one reading and one vote, allowing for swift and expedient action when and where necessary. The rules for emergency ordinances, however, also stipulate a higher threshold of acceptance by those city council members present to vote — with all members present but one needing to vote in favor of any emergency ordinance in order for it to pass. The language for the Emergency Noise Ordinance has been drawn up by city attorney Shaun Sullivan, and will have its first reading and subsequent vote on Tuesday — and again — every city council member present, but one, must vote in support in order for the ordinance to be adopted.
Many Council members have previously expressed their full recognition and support of mitigating the health and safety impacts of oil and gas development on Broomfield residents. Ward 4 council member Groom’s record has been less clear on these matters, and many residents have taken extra time to write to member Groom, ensuring she is aware of constituent experiences with the excessive, unmitigated and disruptive noise from Extraction’s operations.
Broomfield Concerned will continue to update residents as new information or a vote result becomes available. We encourage residents in support of the Emergency Noise Ordinance to write to council and to attend Tuesday evening’s meeting in person.
Emails sent on Monday — or on Tuesday as late as 4 p.m. — should be seen and included in city council member packets on the matter. It is suggested letters be directed to the all-council email address: firstname.lastname@example.org — as well as copied to the individual ward representatives. Letters can include personal stories of noise impacts, or general support for the ordinance and for action being taken.