Broomfield residents upset about plan for more than 100 oil wells near neighborhood

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BROOMFIELD, Colo. -- Some people living in northern Broomfield are upset about a plan to bring more than 100 oil wells to fields near homes, a planned reservoir and elementary school.

Four sites are being prepared to be turned into well facilities for the fracking company Extraction Oil and Gas.

All of the sites are within a mile of the adjacent pad, at least two of the sites are within 1,000 feet of neighborhoods. The plan was approved by the council of the City and County of Broomfield.

However, Mayor Randy Ahrens said they were misled. The council accepted the plan based on the thought Extraction would consolidate 36 sites scattered throughout the county to the four sites, having eight to 10 wells on each site.

"Then we come to find out they're talking about putting 40 wells on this site," Ahrens said. "All of the sudden it becomes a massive industrial site. Immediately adjacent to citizens' homes, future reservoir and future schools."

Ahrens said news of the added wells did not sit well with most homeowners near the proposed sites. On Tuesday, 50 people spoke to the council asking them to stop the plan from going forward.

Laurie Anderson was one of those attendees. She lives in the Anthem neighborhood, within eye-shot of a location with a planned 41 oil wells.

"This is not OK. This is way too many wells in close proximity to a home," Anderson said. "This is unprecedented."

Anderson learned about plans for fracking in May. However, several others living nearby only heard about the plan a week or two ago.

"We moved here from Castle Rock," Brenda Carrington said. "It's extremely frustrating that we may have to move again. There's no way I'm going to jeopardize my kids' health because extraction wants to be this close to homes. Not going to happen. I don't want it."

Carrington added it would be difficult for her to sell her home if the wells open.

"This should be a concern for all Broomfield residents," added Duane Webber, who also cited safety concerns.

Extraction Oil and Gas sent a statement regarding the plan Friday night.

"Our Broomfield Redevelopment Plan will result in removal and reclamation of legacy oil and gas wells scattered throughout the community and consolidating all of them to only four locations, which were approved by the Broomfield City Council by a unanimous vote after public input and participation from the broader community.

We carefully chose those four locations to be as far as possible from residential housing, as well as to be compatible with surrounding development. Each of the four locations are less than a few hundred feet from the Northwest Parkway, where thousands of vehicles travel each day. We have also carefully planned to install over three acres with professionally design landscaping, at each site before commencing activities to address visual impacts of these operations. The landscaping will involve rolling berms covered with natural grasses and trees inspired by Colorado’s flowing landscapes and vistas.

Our commitment to safety, clean air and the Broomfield community is evident in every facet of its planned operations. Our Best Management Practices and latest development technology will be applied in Broomfield just as they have been successfully to date in other Colorado communities. We look forward to continuing to work cooperatively with the City of Broomfield to deliver the safest, cleanest and best project to the community." - Brian Cain, Extraction Oil and Gas.

Also, the company said it sent out 2,500 letters and invitations to the public to comment on the project. It said nine public meetings occurred between the time the project was proposed to where it stands now.

Still, residents hope the plan doesn't go through. The mayor said that may come down to state law.

"People really need to go and talk to their legislators and see what they can do about amending the rules," Ahrens said.