Daily Camera (Boulder)

Judge rules against Ex­trac­tion

- By Jen­nifer Rios Business · Energy · Industries · City and County of Broomfield, Colorado · Newport County A.F.C. · Fisher Stevens · Delaware

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.

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