City of Broomfield: Do NOT Sell Our Water!

Broomfield City Council; Mayor Ahrens

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To: Broomfield City Council; Mayor Ahrens
From: [Your Name]

To the City and County of Broomfield,

We, the residents and voters of Broomfield, are actively engaged and have expressed significant concerns about oil and gas development in our community. We thank the City and County of Broomfield (CCOB) Staff for their efforts to inform the engaged public of a proposed August 13 ordinance to allow the sale of municipal water to Extraction Oil and Gas (Extraction) in an August 1 Oil and Gas Update item. While there are many details which we do not currently know about the proposed ordinance, we are currently opposed to this action based on the available information and for the following reasons:

  1. Residents of Broomfield were told repeatedly during the CCOB Oil and Gas Task Force and during the approval process that Broomfield municipal water would not be used for the Extraction Project. Per the Operator Agreement between CCOB and Extraction (OA), BMP 9 states, “…Other than for irrigating landscape material, Operator shall not use City water for any of its oil and gas operations…” We expect CCOB to uphold this portion of the operator agreement, as it was put into place to protect the health and safety of Broomfield residents by recognizing the importance of a secure water supply.

  2. Extraction is ultimately responsible for the management of this project while upholding the OA and for obtaining all needed materials to execute this project in a safe manner that protects our community. It is not the responsibility of CCOB, and thereby its residents, to give Extraction access to our water supply because the usage of water trucks is creating additional safety risks for the community. However, we understand that selling our water will only result in a reduction of 1-3 total truck trips per day. This hardly seems to be an amount that will make a difference in reducing risk for traffic incidents. In addition, Extraction and the City should have addressed all possible safety issues prior to the project starting, during the CDP approval process. Extraction should have brought up their need for clean water, as opposed to “fresh” water, to ensure quality cement during this process.

  3. All of the water storage infrastructure should now be in place including modular large volume tanks (MLVT) and lay flat pipe. Per the OA, BMP 3 states, “All fresh water shall be transported to the Well Sites by means other than by truck”. It is unclear to residents why Extraction would need additional trucked in water. If the historic leak at the Weber H Unit 1 Well Pad resulted in a delay in the construction of the MLVT, then the overall project schedule should have been adjusted to accommodate for any remediation efforts necessary to ensure fresh water would be available at the time needed. This historic leak is the responsibility of Extraction.

  4. Water is an invaluable resource. It cannot be replaced. The large volume of water used by the oil and gas industry is concerning to Residents. Additionally, our water supply is already at risk of contamination with oil and gas operations occurring in close proximity to the Siena Reservoir, which is now a peaking reservoir, and to the approved future Broomfield potable water reservoir. At this time, it is not clear if the Operator has notified the City with "an estimate of the volumes of water to be utilized" (OA BMP #42). We believe this information needs to be made public so that Council, and the residents they represent, can fully understand all the implications of this decision. We deserve to know how much water the City contemplates selling. Our Council should be aware of what they are committing to prior to voting. Regardless of the quantity requested, we prefer our water be protected to prevent any future water shortages and ensure we have an adequate water supply for any future emergencies. We do not believe reducing 1-3 truck trips justifies selling large quantities of our water. The benefit of a few less trucks does not outweigh the risks of losing water from our water supply.

  5. CCOB acknowledges in Resolution 2004-105 in its agreement with Mile High Water Company, which provides water to Adams County Residents, that it understands there are many elements which make it uncertain whether the supply of water can always be adequate for all consumers and needs. This agreement acknowledges that Broomfield reserves the right to certain prohibitions including “[p]rohibition of non-essential uses within Broomfield” all the way to “[p]rohibition for all uses outside Broomfield”. Because of this agreement to provide water to Adams County Residents, we find it essential that Broomfield Municipal water not be used by Extraction in any phase of this project. Water for Adams County residents takes precedence over Extraction’s need for an unspecified amount of water.

  6. Broomfield’s Charter requires that permits for oil and gas operations be conditioned such that there are no adverse impacts to the health, safety and welfare of Broomfield residents. Any modifications to the permits must adhere to 301. We recognize that the quality of the cement used during the drilling phase is important to long-term wellbore integrity over the lifespan of the well. Therefore, it is essential that the casing cement meet this requirement - including using the required purity of water to ensure wellbore integrity. Meeting this standard is not negotiable, and threatening to not meet this standard if City water is not sold to Extraction is unacceptable. Looking at this from a long term perspective, selling our water supply puts us at risk for future water shortages and could have other unknown, unintended consequences. Extraction entered an agreement with CCOB which clearly states they cannot use city water for operations. If Extraction now says they cannot provide safe casings without city water, then they should not have entered into the Operator Agreement and they cannot be allowed to proceed.

  7. The use of Broomfield staff time and resources to solve Extraction’s oversights is not justifiable. This project is already projected to result in an overall loss to CCOB per its own calculations. We request that staff time be used to enforce the Operator Agreement versus problem solving issues which should be resolved by the Operator. This is a gross oversight by the Operator and demonstrates its inability to manage this project in a way that assures confidence to uphold the protection of health and safety of Broomfield Residents. The burden of protecting health and safety should rightfully be placed on Extraction.

  8. The OA is ambiguous as to what type of trucks are allowed. In reviewing the CDP, the only time water trucks were specifically mentioned was in reference to fugitive dust suppression. In reviewing the OA, the only reference was that water should be delivered by “means other than truck”. The residents were not aware that there would be any additional water trucks needed outside of the ones for dust suppression. If this information was not included in the OA, BMPs, and/or CDP, how and when was Council informed that Extraction was planning to use water trucks for well casing cement?
  9. This latest breach of contract is just the next in a line of repetitive issues. Rather than amending the agreement to accommodate these oversights, we request that CCOB uphold the agreement and the original commitment not to use Broomfield Municipal Water, and rather than amending the agreement to accommodate these oversights, we request that CCOB uphold the agreement and the original commitment not to use Broomfield Municipal Water, and hold the Operator accountable for delivering what was promised.

    We, the undersigned, want to remind Broomfield City Council that we (the voters) have elected you into office to represent our (your constituents’) viewpoints. We remain opposed to oil and gas operations in close proximity to neighborhoods (as indicated by the vote on 301) and we do not support our Municipal Water being used in this way, in violation of the Operator Agreement. . We urge you (our representatives) to reject this proposal for selling municipal water to Extraction Oil and Gas and to execute the OA as it pertains to this case.

    Respectfully,

    Broomfield Residents