In February 2017, the Broomfield City Council acknowledged that they did not have the necessary expertise for oil and gas related issues and created a Task Force to identify the best path forward for Broomfield. Task force members chosen by the Broomfield City Council included five oil and gas experts and professionals with a wide variety of scientific, risk, legal, and other applicable experience.
The Task Force came back with an amended Broomfield Comprehensive Plan and a series of recommended Regulations and Ordinances for the City Council to enact. On September 26, the City Council praised the work of Task Force and approved the Comprehensive Plan updates.
Meanwhile however, the City Council was quietly negotiating away our rights with Extraction Oil and Gas to create a new Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”). On October 17, they launched their plan to vote in their Bad MOU on October 24. They are operating under threat by Extraction that if they don't vote this in before the COGCC meeting, that the MOU is off the table.
This is wrong. The task force provided recommendations for ordinances that aligned with their recommendations. These ordinances were recommended to be implemented to hold all developers in Broomfield to their scientifically backed recommendations to protect our Health, Safety, and Welfare. This was not Extraction specific but instead was designed to provide direction for Extraction, Crestone, Anadarko, and any other oil and gas operator that intends to operate within Broomfield.
However, our City Council plans to vote on this MOU on October 24 that sells out our Health, Safety, and Welfare by allowing Extraction to:
- Use extensive truck traffic for the next 2-4 years, while not requiring the pipeline until the production phase.
- Avoid the recommended site specific air quality testing, and to not provide any future air quality testing. They are passing that responsibility to the city to do it (and yet the city has no plans to adequately meet or pay for this this, or to enforce issues if they find them)
- Not buy the Environmental Liability/Pollution Legal Liability Insurance that our Task Force insisted was necessary for our health and safety
- Remove requirements for meeting CDC standards, and using chemicals near our communities and reservoir that the CDC says are unhealthy for ingestion and breathing
- Let their transient workers live in trailers on the drilling sites
- Remove requirements for fixing our roads after they damage them with the truck traffic
- Skip out on a majority of the required risk assessment
- Move the well pads toward Adams County, claiming that they have to because of task force recommendations, while ignoring many other task force recommendations
- And more... The list below continues to track the deficiencies between the MOU and our Task Force recommendations.
All of this is being done in advance of 301, because the City Council knows that if they were held to a standard to prioritize Health, Safety and Welfare, that they would never agree to these reckless compromises.
There are active COGCC protests from the City Council and Wildgrass scheduled for October 30-31. If they vote this Bad MOU through, City will drop these protests and no longer stand with their residents
Voting this in now is a purely political move, designed to usurp the will of the people, and to compromise our Health, Safety, and Welfare to line the pockets of private industry.
Two final points:
- On October 10, the City Council pointed out that sites like this are one-sided and that you should do your own research. We agree completely! Read the MOU for yourself. Compare the table below to the draft MOU and draw your own conclusions. Do your own candidate research. Don’t take our word for it. Become educated! Speak out!
- The City Council, through it's rhetoric and the press, is whining that we are angry. That we are rude. That they are embarrassed. Respect is earned. Are they earning it?
The Task Force required that pipelines be in place prior to drilling
The City Council and Extraction are NOT requiring a pipeline during the construction, drilling, and completion phases. This means SIGNIFICANT tanks and truck traffic during drilling and throughout the project!
The Task Force required site specific air quality testing prior to drilling and throughout the process
The City Council and Extraction report this was already done, but given the wells are being proposed in new locations, it is impossible that site specific testing was completed.
They have also agreed that Extraction pay $20,000 annually for ongoing air quality testing, but this is grossly inadequate based on what testing has already cost to date, and does not meet the Task Force requirements.
Supplemental air quality testing will cost our city hundreds of thousands of dollars annually that should be funded by Extraction.
The task force required a comprehensive risk assessment that includes risk identification, a qualitative and quantitive risk assessment, methods of risk avoidance and control that implement techniques to prevent the accident/loss and reduce the impact or cost of loss after it occurs, and risk transfer through cost, insurance, bonding, etc.
The City Council and Extraction are modifiying this into a limited risk mitigation plan that does NOT include the risk assessment or risk transfer analysis requirements.
The Task Force required a PIPELINE SPECIFIC quantitative and qualitative risk analysis to identify potential threats associated with pipelines, likelihood of occurrence of threats, and area and resources that could be impacted by a pipeline incident
The City Council and Extraction are excluding the Task Force requirement for a pipeline quantitative and qualitative risk analysis
The Task Force required specific Environmental Liability/Pollution Legal Liability Insurance of limits of no less than $10,000,000 USD per each and every occurrence.
The City Council and Extraction are removing the Environmental Liability/Pollution Legal Liability insurance requirement.
The Task Force required compliance with the CDC Toxic Substances and Disease Registry for benzene, toulene, ethyl benzene and xylene (BTEX) and other air toxins
The City Council and Extraction are omitting this compliance requirement for meeting CDC guidelines
The Task Force required reduced emission completion standards that comply with the most stringent federal or state requirements and apply at the time of all completion activities
The City Council and Extraction are removing the portion of the language requiring the “most stringent” requirements. They also removed the requirement to provide logs, eliminating the possibility of enforcement
The Task Force required that all drilling use electric power and quieter "Tier 4" engines
The City Council and Extraction are reducing this requirement so Extraction can use natural gas-powered, "Tier 2" Fuel Hydraulic Fracturing Pumps
The Task Force identified 19 chemicals to be restricted in O&G operations within Broomfield based on scientifically backed evidence
UPDATED per 10/17 meeting packet -
The City Council and Extraction are reducing this requirement to mandate restrictions on only limiting 17 out of the 19 identified dangerous chemicals. The remaining two chemicals are acrylamide (https://www.cdc.gov/biomonitoring/Acrylamide_FactSheet.html) and naphthylamine (https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/81-123/pdfs/0442.pdf)
The Task Force required $100,000,000 of General Liability Insurance be maintained for the entire duration of Extraction's operations within Broomfield.
UPDATED per 10/17 meeting packet -
The City Council and Extraction are reducing this to only require $25,000,000 of General Liability Insurance once the wells are completed.
The Task Force required emission control of 90% or better during liquids unloading, including the installation of an automated plunger lift and the use of flares or thermal oxidizers to control any venting that cannot be eliminated
UPDATED per 10/17 meeting packet -
The City Council and Extraction have agreed to the 90% requirement.
The Task Force required the development and implementation of a site-specific soils testing and monitoring plan approved by Broomfield, to include testing by a third party consultant.
The City Council and Extraction are removing the requirement to use an approved third party consultant, and allowed for a 3 month reporting delay on providing the soil testing reports to the City and COGCC.
The Task Force required the reduction or elimination of odors outside of a specified distance from the well site and that the City Council adopt an ordinance on odor that is enforceable by local police and courts
The City Council and Extraction are removing the requirement for making odor issues an enforceable ordinance, diminishing the ability to enforce this
The Task Force required that operators agree to pay for degradation of city and county roads as a result of their work
The City Council and Extraction are removing the requirement to pay for the road damage that is caused during the project
The Task Force required weed control on the pads and along the flowlines and pipelines
The City Council and Extraction are removing the requirement as it relates to flowlines and pipelines
The Task Force required operators to physically mark all pipelines above ground
The City Council and Extraction are removing this requirement
The Task Force required extensive Water Quality and Conservation regulations, above and beyond the state recommendations.
These include estimating water to be used, documenting water conservation measures, establishing limits and prohibitions on orally toxic chemicals, and decommissioning assessment processes
The City Council and Extraction are agreeing to only follow base state regulations.
However, state water quality and conservation regulations are significantly less stringent than the Task Force requirements and do not cover many of the specific topics in the task force requirements
The Task Force required proof that any flare, auto ignition system, recorder, vapor recovery device or other hydrocarbon destruction equipment be installed and maintained correctly
The City Council and Extraction are removing the teeth of this requirement by changing the MOU to not require proof
The Task Force required the creation of a waste management plan approved by the City Council
The City Council and Extraction are requiring a plan that allows for water to be stored in tanks and be transported by trucks, that goes against all previous requirements for all water to be transported by pipeline.
The Task Force required proof of compliance with State-required dust control measures and imposition of an opacity requirement as tested using predefined EPA methods
The City Council and Extraction are not requiring proof of compliance
The Task Force required specific Pressure Monitoring requirements, to include providing monthly reading reports to the city
The City Council and Extraction are omitting this testing and reporting requirement
The Task Force required an enhanced pipeline (includes all pipelines, flowlines, gathering lines, etc.) inspection by operators including quarterly pressure testing and leak detection program with results provided in writing to the City
The City Council and Extraction are reducing this to only semi-annual inspections
The Task Force required a photometric study be completed prior to the start of construction to understand current lighting for comparison purposes after the project started
The City Council and Extraction are removing the requirement for this study
The Task Force required specific noise mitigation requirements with defined decibel limits at various distances and enforcement protocols be developed for the use of a calibrated noise meter
The City Council and Extraction are changing this to limit noise to the “extent practicable” and have omitted the requirement for noice enforcement protocols be developed
The Task Force prohibited residential trailers from being onsite
The City Council and Extraction are changing this to only limit the requirement for permanent residential trailers and is allowing trailers for personnel occupancy to be onsite during production
The Task Force required additional insurance as the number of pads run by the operator within Broomfield increased past 25-50 well pads.
The City Council and Extraction are removing this liability requirement.
The Task Force required temporary access roads to be reclaimed and revegetated within 60 days of discontinued use
The City Council and Extraction are changing this to an unenforceable general limit of “within a reasonable amount of time”
The Task Force required any accident or natural event involving a fire, explosion, detonation, or release of pressure shall be reported to the City and County of Broomfield within 24 hours. This report must be compiled annually and presented in a form accessible and understandable to the public and policy makers.
The City Council and Extraction are removing the “release of pressure” language and added “to the extent available” in the MOU response.
They also are removing the requirement that the report include the inventory of combustible or explosive chemicals and supplies on site at the time and the estimate of economic costs.
Finally the City Council and Extraction are removing the need for the report to be compiled and presented in a form accessible to the public and policy makers.
If you do not believe in the direction that our current City Council is leading us, you MUST take action:
ATTEND THE CITY COUNCIL MEETINGS
We MUST speak out on October 24. Attend the meetings and make sure our council understands that this is not OK
Write to the MAYOR and city council members
If you don't know what to say, take any 2 or 3 of the items above that concern you and discuss those concerns.
Call upon the Council to disclose immediately all documents, including emails, sent to or from, or exchanged with, Extraction (or its representatives) and the CCOB (including the City Attorney) relating to the Amended MOU. This process requires transparency and should not be shrouded under Executive Session.
Do your research. Demand clear answers from the candidates
Analyze the responses from candidates on http://broomfieldconcerned.org/about/broomfield-city-council-candidate-perspectives/ and make your own decisions.
Support the candidates
This election matters! Donate, put up yard signs, talk to your friends and neighbors. Get the word out
COMMUNICATE your CONCERNS
Post on NextDoor and your neighborhood mailing lists, write letters to the newspaper. Raise awareness and express your concerns everywhere
The task force made important regulatory recommendations that should apply to all operators. It is important to understand the difference between the Charter and the Regulations. At the October 10 meeting, Mayor Pro Tem Stokes pointed out that the task force was told to come up with the best plan for our health, safety, and welfare, without regard to legality. While he’s right, that directive was in regards to the Chapter amendment only. However, the task force also came up with a list of proposed regulations. Those regulations were recommended as ordinances and were limited to areas that the city does have increased control. For example, the city can set ordinances around air quality. They control land and easements for pipelines. They control roads. They have specific enforcement authority.
And yet, the City Council entered negotiations before the Task Force was even finished. They pitted us against Adams County. They're using these proposed Task Force regulations as simple bargaining chips rather than determining the best path forward through the recommended ordinances that protects health and safety. These were not meant for negotiation. They were already well thought out and scientifically backed.
Our City Council never intended to follow the task force recommendations for ordinances that protected the health, safety and welfare of its residents. This entire process was to provide cover to rush through an MOU before the election that cripples our ability to accomplish positive change going forward.
It’s time for us to be heard. It’s time for us to make it absolutely clear that our Health, Safety, and Welfare are not bargaining chips. It’s time for us to reject the money of big oil. It’s time for a new mayor. It’s time for a new city council.
Mayor Ahrens likes to talk about the Broomfield way
Let’s SHOW him what that means