Daily Camera (Boulder)
Judge rules against Extraction
Extraction Oil & Gas, Inc. was found guilty on seven citations for violating Broomfield’s noise ordinance, the City and County of Broomfield announced Thursday.
City and County Attorney Shaun Sullivan said Associate Judge Steven Fisher ruled from the bench late Wednesday afternoon.
After a day-and-a-half-long trial, the Broomfield Municipal Court found Extraction Oil and Gas, Inc. guilty of failing to submit a noise modeling study as required by the ordinance, according to a city news release.
In January, Broomfield City Council adopted an emergency noise ordinance that required industrial uses located outside of industrial zoning districts to limit operations to daytime hours, or to submit a noise modeling study that showed they could meet residential noise standards at the boundary line of the nearest adjacent residential zone district, according to the release.
Extraction declined to submit the noise modeling study, prompting Broomfield to issue citations in February when the Denverbased oil and gas company continued to operate at night.
Broomfield officials hope that Extraction will now take steps to comply with the ordinance, according to the release.
“Broomfield’s noise ordinance is important to preserving the peace and health of our residents,” Sullivan said. “We hope that now Extraction will perform the necessary studies to evaluate the issue and propose additional measures to mitigate the noise caused by its operations.”
The court levied a $300 fine plus $50 fees and court costs for each of the seven violations, Sullivan said. Extraction intends to appeal and the sentence has been stayed pending appeal.
Had Extraction pleaded guilty and let the judge set the fine it could have ranged from zero to $2,500.
The company’s next bankruptcy disclosure hearing, which is being handled out of a Delaware bankruptcy court, was moved from Oct. 2 to Nov. 2.
During this week’s trial Extraction moved for acquittal after the city and county presented its case, according to the city’s Oct. 7 Oil and Gas Data Snapshot. The judge denied the motion and Extraction presented its case Wednesday afternoon.
On June 14, Extraction filed for bankruptcy protection to allow it to reorganize under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code, according to the snapshot. Early the week of Oct. 4, Extraction and its midstream companies continued to argue whether Extraction can set aside its contracts with the midstream pipeline companies.
This includes a contract with Elevations Midstream, which was a subsidiary of Extraction and operates the pipelines in Broomfield under a contract with Extraction. Broomfield is not a party to this proceeding, according to the city, but it did submit a declaration that the Operator Agreement requires Extraction to use pipelines in specific easements to transports its oil, gas and produced water.
The Operator Agreement does not allow trucks to be used, according to the city. The next hearing on this issue is Oct. 20, Sullivan said.
An Extraction spokesman has said in the past the company’s operator agreement from the city and county exempt it from the noise ordinance. Media representative Brian Cain said Friday morning that the company cannot comment because the legal issue is still pending.
Broomfield Council on Jan. 14 passed an emergency noise ordinance that went into effect Jan. 22. The ordinance aims to limit noise from industrial operations in residential areas between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. Council drafted the ordinance after hundreds of residents, primarily in the Anthem Ranch, Anthem Highlands and Wildgrass neighborhoods, reported excessive noise from oil and gas operations.
Residents had emailed, called and spoke to council at meetings about noise waking them, or keeping their families awake, especially children.
This noise and the resulting stress, anxiety, and sleep deprivation could be causing adverse health impacts, city officials claimed, and is impairing the overall welfare of a significant number of residents in those areas. All of those neighborhoods are near Extraction’s Livingston site, west of Lowell Boulevard near the Northwest Parkway.
Broomfield encourages residents to report noise and other oiland-gas related concerns via the Immediate Concern line at 720887-3130 or Broomfield.org/ Immediateconcern.