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Extraction Drilling Plan in Colorado Given Conditional Green Light

Broomfield, CO, officials late Monday conditionally approved a 1,500-page comprehensive drilling plan (CDP) by Denver-based Extraction Oil & Gas Inc. for six well pads.

The CDP has to be formally re-submitted to the city and county manager, and Extraction has to agree to 15 conditions calling for specific safety and mitigation measures. The proposal encompasses 23 separate topics concerning air quality, noise, emergency management, risk management and detailed site plans.

"This approval marks the culmination of two years of effort, including the appointment by the mayor and city council of an oil/gas comprehensive plan task force that recommended regulations," said a Broomfield spokesperson.

Future oil and gas operations on the six well pads for Livingston, Northwest A/B, United and Interchange A/B are now conditionally permitted, including best management practices that are said to exceed Colorado regulatory requirements. A total of 84 wells are to be drilled from the pads.

More stringent local requirements include minimizing equipment, emissions and truck traffic by requiring piping of oil, gas and produced water from wellsites; air, noise and water testing/monitoring; and operator financial assurances.

Extraction reached an operating agreement with Broomfield officials last fall, culminating a year-long process to begin exploration and production activity in the area. The agreement was called "an unprecedented collaboration and stakeholder engagement" by local officials that produced "one of the most thoughtfully designed oil and gas developments in the country."

Extraction officials said the agreement provides "a clear pathway" for completing the needed spacing and permitting process for the Broomfield leasehold, which is within the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood greater metropolitan area.

Broomfield and separately, Lafayette, CO, voters, last year moved to impose local restrictions on oil and gas activities, even though the Colorado Supreme Court has upheld that oversight for those activities is under the purview of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.

In July the Broomfield city council passed an amended Ordinance No. 2067 to establish reporting rules that were an outgrowth of the ballot’s passage last year. The Lafayette city council also enacted a six-month moratorium on drilling activities.

In announcing Extraction’s CDP approval, Broomfield officials conceded that state law prevailed.

"Broomfield's goal has been to develop strategies and legally permissible tools to protect public safety that best reflect the community's values," a Broomfield spokesperson said.

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