A former member of the Broomfield City Council strongly criticized the current leadership for persisting in their efforts to undermine oil and gas production, even as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to severely impact public health and city finances.
In a Broomfield Enterprise column, David Beacom highlights that despite the City Council’s recent decision to furlough 235 public employees due to a significant decline in tax revenue caused by reduced economic activity during the crisis, it has not eased its efforts to halt production at Extraction Oil & Gas’ Livingston Pad.
Beacom writes “During this very real crisis, some on Council are obsessed with the Livingston O&G site project – to the extent of spending millions on outside experts, attorneys, new sound monitoring and even deploying additional air monitoring equipment.”
“It’s immoral that Broomfield city employees are losing money with never-ending witch hunt of a business’ contract compliance so Council can attempt to shut them down?” he added.
According to Dan Haley, President of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, Broomfield’s focus on other matters during the COVID-19 crisis jeopardizes the community by subjecting taxpayers and city employees’ livelihoods to political considerations.
“Once again Broomfield’s activist leaders have put their political agenda above any other concerns or realistic government service,” Haley said.
He also added saying “The result is driving up the city‘s deficit and jeopardizing taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars. Now 235 furloughed city employees, people with families, are facing the brunt of these costly political agendas. Business leaders and taxpayers deserve more in terms of compromise and problem solving from our elected leaders”.
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For quite some time, Broomfield’s political leaders have maintained a strained relationship with the oil and natural gas sector. In the previous year, a group of city council candidates were elected with promises to confront the industry, among them Jean Lim, who Beacom singles out in his opinion piece for obstructing the establishment of an additional medical facility for COVID-19 patients.
“This shocking evidence of flame-fanning came during the April 8 Council meeting, where Councilmember Jean Lim expressed concern the 1stBank Center could possibly serve as an overflow site for COVID-19 patients. She wants it held in reserve for some unknown emergency she expects might somehow be caused by O&G operations,” Beacom writes.
Beacom references a response to Lim from Kevin Standbridge, the deputy city and county manager.
“I don’t quite know what to say to your comment,” Standbridge responded. “The COVID virus is real. It’s here, we’re going to have to prepare to address the health needs of our residents and I’m just floundered how to answer your question. … to suggest that it’s inappropriate for us to be working on this with our partners, I don’t what to say.”
Lim’s effort to obstruct an overflow site is the most recent development in the city’s ongoing campaign against the industry.
Western Wire recently covered a state district judge’s decision that halted a Broomfield directive aiming to halt Extraction’s production amid the pandemic. The ruling cited heightened health concerns stemming from the outbreak.
Judge Robert W. Kiesnowski dismissed Broomfield’s contention and criticized the city for prioritizing politics over public health.
“It is also contrary to the public interest to single out a legal but politically unpopular business and shut it down; and for a government to disregard fundamental property and contract law principles of vested rights,” he wrote in his ruling.
Beacom highlights that Extraction has invested $500 million to establish what he describes as “one of the most environmentally responsible oil and gas operations in the country.” However, the city persists in running redundant air monitoring programs, even as the pandemic may necessitate further furloughs.
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