A judge granted Extraction Oil and Gas a request for a temporary ban in response to Broomfield’s efforts to issue an emergency declaration to suspend work on the company’s 18 well site in the city until it is lifted emergency measures related to the coronavirus.
The decision was announced Friday evening in a message on Broomfield.org which was shared on the city’s social networks.
The city council, meeting Tuesday by phone as the county health council, asked staff to draft the declaration of suspension of the reflux phase at the Livingston Pad at 18 wells of Extraction while the order to stay at home statewide is in place. The Livingston Pad is west of Lowell Boulevard, near the Northwest Parkway. The measure has been scheduled for a final vote next Tuesday.
The company applied for and obtained a temporary restraining order from district court judge Robert W. Kiesnowski Jr. on Friday, according to the city’s press release, on Friday.
The restraining order prohibits Broomfield from “making any order ordering Extraction to stop or suspend its operations due to COVID-19 or other health-related problems as they were developed during the special meeting of the Broomfield Board of Health on March 25, 2020 “, according to the press release. . “If Broomfield makes such an order not based on valid health concerns, the court declares it to be null and void for the duration of this TRO.”
The temporary restraining order is valid for 14 days, the statement said.
Broomfield said it would file a response to the order on Monday.
Health officials speaking at Tuesday’s meeting referred to studies showing that harmful emissions, including the carcinogenic benzene, are much higher during reflux, according to the Denver Post.
Jason Vahling, director of public health for Broomfield, said at Tuesday’s meeting that the stress caused by oil and gas operations could cause complications for those at risk if they contract the virus, the Post reported on Thursday.
Supporters of the shutdown of oil and gas development noted that some of the neighboring subdivisions are aimed at people 55 and older, according to the Post. Seniors and those with underlying health conditions are considered particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, the highly infectious disease caused by the new coronavirus.
The Post reported that employees of Extraction, as well as state and Broomfield officials and experts, said the company plans to use advanced technology designed to significantly reduce harmful emissions.
The company, which plans to restart the flow in mid-April, said it would not store any of the wastewater on the well, according to the Post. Liquids will be shipped by pipeline to a central collection facility.
“I don’t see the need for extraction to stop operations or take other action at this point,” said Jeff Post Robbins, director of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.
Mining spokesman Brian Cain, in an email to the Post, said expert statements indicated that “our operations are undoubtedly among the safest and most protective in Colorado.”
“There is no reason to stop producing the energy resources we need at this critical time, because the data has proven to be completely unfounded.”