Delay the Vote on the Operator Agreement and Allow Residents Involvement!
Jennifer Carroll, Mayor of Erie; Erie Board of Trustees
Residents of Erie, along with Impacted Broomfield Residents, are writing to object to the renegotiation of the Operator Agreement with Crestone Peak Resources. As residents who are seriously concerned about the health and safety impacts of Crestone’s proposed projects next to residential neighborhoods, we are asking that the applications related to this proposed development not move forward at this time, until the issues listed below are adequately addressed.
Jennifer Carroll, Mayor of Erie; Erie Board of Trustees
From: [Your Name]
Dear Mayor Carroll and Erie Board of Trustees,
Residents of Erie, along with Impacted Broomfield Residents, are writing to object to the renegotiation of the Operator Agreement with Crestone Peak Resources. As residents who are seriously concerned about the health and safety impacts of Crestone’s proposed projects next to residential neighborhoods, we are asking that the applications related to this proposed development not move forward at this time for the following reasons:
Erie Residents Question Whether the Quasi-Judicial Designation was Correctly Applied by the City and Believe Residents Were Denied Their Rights to Participate in Their Government:
- From the Erie Quasi-Judicial FAQ’s, “In a quasi-judicial proceeding, the Town Board is not setting new policy, but applying the standards in an existing ordinance, statute or regulation to facts presented at a hearing, similar as to how a judge would act.” We question if negotiating a new Operator Agreement is considered setting a new policy, which is not meant to happen in a Quasi-Judicial matter, but rather as a Legislative Act.
- If the Quasi-Judicial designation was not applied correctly, the Board of Trustees may have unfairly excluded the Residents from what should have been a Legislative Process.
- Residents were given less than a one week notice which does not allow enough time for a thorough review and ability to comment on an Operator Agreement.
- The BMPs were not posted until 9pm Thursday, and as of Sunday night the pipeline maps were still not publicly available on the Town of Erie website. Erie Residents deserve more time to review these important documents.
- The location of some of the well sites near Highway 7 (known for major traffic issues), gas stations, and also near a General Aviation airport pose additional threats to the safety of both Erie and Broomfield communities and needs to be evaluated with greater scrutiny and there needs to be meaningful public engagement.
- Erie and Broomfield Residents deserve a true public forum, with enough notice for adequate participation by all Residents who wish to attend.
- The existing Operator Agreement provided for 1000 ft setbacks for residents. This standard was waived in the new agreement for certain sites, which decreases protections for public health and safety for Erie Residents.
- The Best Management Practices (BMPs) do not adequately address the increased concerns for large-scale oil and gas operations in close proximity to densely populated communities. The Operator Agreement does not address heavy truck usage during peak hours, restricting the levels of air emissions, preparing and maintaining an emergency preparedness plan including evacuation routes and a system of notification; air quality monitoring and reporting; and the completion of a Risk Mitigation plan including a full risk analysis for the cumulative impact of all wells.
- There are shallow mines in the area of the proposed project that were a part of a State funded 2013 subsidence restoration project. The "experts" cited in the Amended Operator plan do not include the Colorado Geological Survey who are the foremost experts on the subsiding shallow mines in our town.
- Erie Residents would like the opportunity to address other concerns in the Operator Agreement like the town waiving its rights to call a hearing for applications 2 and 2A at the COGCC if staff feels the BMP’s have been met as this effectively precludes the residents’ ability to challenge a project at the COGCC level.
- There is no public plat, pipeline map or timeline available for public review that reflects the total new number of wells.
- This megasite is an area where emissions, under certain weather conditions, will be trapped in low-lying areas under temperature inversions, exacerbating the polluting effects of Oil and Gas processes.
- The Highway 7 Coalition has a long-term vision to make Highway 7 safer, reduce traffic congestion and introduce more public transportation options as communities served by that road continue to grow. Since this Highway is already over capacity, this Coalition must study and provide input on the resultant impacts of the significant increase in volume of large truck traffic related to this project.
- This megasite is exempted from many of the BMPs that do exist, even though the project has not yet been approved and is well within the timeframe to enact application changes.
- The location of at least one of the sites is incompatible land use. In fact the current Erie Zoning Map shows the land is approved for Low Density Residential which is consistent with the adjacent land use.
- Erie is tying the Operator Agreement to a settlement of a court case about odor. We believe these two issues should be evaluated independently of one another.
- In a letter sent to Governor Hickenlooper on July 30 of this year, several elected officials from Broomfield and Erie stated that Governments need to “stand united against these border wars” and “not be swayed by this divisive approach”, also stating that these “[m]ulti-well mega pads do not belong near our homes, schools, and water sources”.
- By excluding Broomfield Residents from engaging in this process, Erie is creating a new front in the “border wars.” Broomfield Residents in the impacted area support Erie businesses and use Erie Day Care Centers. We believe they should not be excluded from this process.
- Many letters from Broomfield residents have been sent regarding this matter, along with a request from Broomfield Leadership to become a party of interest in this megapad project and no response has been received.
- The City of Broomfield sent a letter to the Town of Erie Community Development Department dated July 17, 2018 regarding proposed developments. To date, the City of Broomfield has not received a response to these questions.
- Broomfield and Erie Residents want their Local Governments to work together to ensure that the State upholds and enforces the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Act, which states in § 34-60-102(1)(a) that it is declared to be in the public interest when oil and gas development is done “…in a manner consistent with protection of public health, safety, and welfare, including protection of the environment and wildlife resources”.
Erie Residents Were Not Given Enough Time to Review All of the Documents:
In the limited time available to review the Operator Agreement, Erie Residents have identified several shortcomings that we believe need to be addressed prior to any votes on this matter:
Broomfield Residents Are Directly Impacted and Are Being Denied the Opportunity to Participate in the Public Process:
The State Election Occurring in One Week has Major Implications Regarding the Future Laws that Pertain to Oil and Gas Development. Broomfield and Erie Residents Ask That Our Right to Vote be Respected and that the Board Pause From Issuing any New Permits Until After this Important Election.
Accordingly, we respectfully request that the vote on the renegotiation of the Crestone Operator Agreement be delayed until all interested parties have had the opportunity and adequate time to review all relevant information and to subsequently offer input. It should not be discerned that we are only concerned about one particular site, but rather we are coming together as a community to ask that the Board look at all future development from the scope of protecting the health, safety, and welfare of our residents.
Concerned Erie and Broomfield Residents