Broomfield City Council tables decision on short-term fracking moratorium

BROOMFIELD, Colo. -- The Broomfield City Council voted early Wednesday morning to table discussion on a short-term fracking moratorium until February.

More than 500 people spilled into jury rooms, the basement and even out the door Tuesday night to weigh in on the proposed five-month moratorium.

"The effects of it appall me," said a teenage girl who began to cry while addressing city council during public comment. "I understand these wells will be built next to our drinking supply. What are the chances during my lifetime these wells will age and degrade?"

Denver-based Extraction Oil and Gas wants to drill almost 140 wells over the next four to five years. Most are within a few hundreds yards of Broomfield homes, schools, or parks.

"I have concerns with the immensity of this project and whether this company is experienced," a resident said.

"You've got to have a moratorium," added another resident, summing up the sentiments of many in the crowd.

However, there were supporters. Some spoke about the need to defend oil and mineral rights. Others touted the economic benefits oil and gas brought to Broomfield County. Others said the concerns with fracking were overstated.

"Compared to other states i'ts our experience that Colorado possesses some of the strongest if not the strongest regulations regarding oil and natural gas development in the entire country," said a representative of the oil industry.

While many in the crowd supported a moratorium, there's only so much the city can do to limit new oil development.

The Colorado Supreme Court struck down longer-term fracking bans in several cities, ruling state law trumps local governments when it comes to oil and gas activity.

But the state's high court did not address short term moratoriums, leaving the door open to short-term prohibitions on fracking.