Broom­field plans to protest well ap­pli­ca­tions

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Jen­nifer Rios

Broom­field will protest six spac­ing ap­pli­ca­tions filed by Ex­trac­tion Oil & Gas Inc. and Cre­stone Peak Re­sources, hop­ing to bump them from the Colorado Oil & Gas Con­ser­va­tion Com­mis­sion meet­ing set for next month in Du­rango.

Coun­cil­man Kevin Kreeger said he doesn’t see much choice other than to protest if the city coun­cil wants the ap­pli­ca­tions for 185 wells heard in Denver.

City coun­cil mem­bers reached their de­ci­sion Tues­day night af­ter a pub­lic study ses­sion. The dead­line to file a protest is Aug. 28.

Coun­cil­woman El­iz­a­beth Law-Evans said she was “floored” that the COGCC can’t fig­ure out a more ef­fec­tive way for res­i­dents to par­tic­i­pate in hear­ings, es­pe­cially con­sid­er­ing avail­able tech­nol­ogy.

“I don’t un­der­stand it,” she said. “I re­ally don’t un­der­stand it. I want cit­i­zens to have the abil­ity to be heard with­out driv­ing to Du­rango.”

Since March 1, the Broom­field Oil and Gas Com­pre­hen­sive Task Force Up­date Com­mit­tee has been work­ing on new oil and gas rules for the city’s com­pre­hen­sive plan.

Com­mit­tee mem­bers are near­ing the end of their work — some­thing that coun­cil has re­peat­edly said it wants to wait to adopt be­fore ne­go­ti­at­ing with oil and gas op­er­a­tors.

“Let’s make sure they’re close and that we have enough time to re­view this and come to our own con­clu­sion about their work,” Law-Evans said.

Cre­stone’s spac­ing ap­pli­ca­tion cov­ers 3-square miles mostly in the north­east por­tion of Broom­field, and some in un­in­cor­po­rated Weld County. It asks for as many as 44 wells to be drilled from up to four well sites. Those lo­ca­tions have not been iden­ti­fied.

Ear­lier this year, Ex­trac­tion had pro­posed drilling 141 wells from six pads in north­east Broom­field. Af­ter the task force was cre­ated, Ex­trac­tion can­celed its COGCC ap­pli­ca­tion, which was sched­uled to be heard in May.

The com­pany re­filed in July and has worked with the task force to sup­ply data and in­for­ma­tion.

The com­pany now wants to drill 99 wells from four pads in Broom­field. Eleven other wells will be drilled in Broom­field, but from out­side the city, city and county man­ager Charles Ozaki said.

Broom­field’s out­side le­gal coun­sel Phillip Barber es­ti­mated the cost of protest­ing the ap­pli­ca­tions could cost more than $100,000. Last year, when the city protested six ap­pli­ca­tions, which Ex­trac­tion later with­drew, it cost about $50,000.

Coun­cil­man Mike Shel­ton said he doesn’t want to spend money in le­gal costs, but said spend­ing $100,000 could be an ef­fec­tive way of get­ting those cases heard.

“If you look at it in that con­text, it doesn’t seem so bad,” he said.

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