Proposed Broomfield oil and gas well expansion to impact Adams County

BROOMFIELD, Colo. -- A controversial decision before the Broomfield City-County Council is pitting Broomfield County against Adams County in the latest battle over fracking development in Colorado.

If approved by Broomfield elected officials, dozens of oil and gas wells soon could be in operation along the county line near homes in Adams County.

About 90 people signed up to speak during a lengthy Broomfield council meeting on Tuesday evening.

Many of those who spoke expressed anger, saying their neighborhood in Adams County will be sacrificed to favor Broomfield County development.

The concerns of energy expansion opponents have been widely reported. Those concerns center mostly on environmental, health and resale home values in neighborhoods near fracking operations.

Near the potentially affected Adams County neighborhood, 49 wells could be installed just inside Broomfield County.

An agreement between Broomfield and Extraction Oil and Gas means the wells can’t be installed within 1,000 feet of homes.

Original energy plans called for development north of Northwest Parkway -- not in Adams County’s backyard, according to advocates supporting Adams County residents.

“The sudden change in plans, if you just look at the two together, is kind of outrageous,” Adams County resident Megan Townsend said.

Adams County commissioner Eva Henry said she’s powerless to force a change. She said she’s hoping her Broomfield counterparts will think of her constituents as they do their own.

“Neither Extraction or the city of Broomfield actually reached out to us,” Henry said.

Broomfield Councilman Greg Stokes said there was never an intention to target Adams County residents.

“We were looking out for the health and safety of human beings regardless of where they lived,” Stokes said.

Oil and natural gas advocates said improved technology means pollution and safety concerns are unfounded.

“It’s time to move forward with Broomfield,” said Nick Kliebenstein of Front Range Energy Alliance. “Delay, delay, delay is not the way to go.”

But those living nearby insist more consideration is needed.

Opponents of the expansion hope a delay on the decision will mean a vote won’t come until after the November election when newly elected representatives could be seated on the council.