Tomorrow night, Broomfield City Council will vote on a six-month ban on oil and gas development within its borders. The issue is complicated, but here’s what you need to know. This vote, which is expected to pass, would halt energy development in Broomfield immediately and would chill development in other counties in Colorado. Not to mention that Colorado has one of the most robust regulatory frameworks for oil and gas development in the country.
There are many businesses in Broomfield, such as restaurants, hotels, and other service industries that would be negatively impacted by the moratorium because they rely on Colorado’s booming oil and natural gas industry to thrive. This moratorium could fly in the face of legal precedent set by lawsuits challenging similar moratoria throughout Colorado. So, while the Broomfield City Council can pass this moratorium, it is likely it could open the City or County to lawsuits at taxpayer expense.
Then, of course, there is the property rights angle. Do mineral owners and others with an invested stake in oil and gas development in Colorado have a right to develop their property? The Broomfield City Council would say no.
The rumor is that this vote is an over-reaction to being frustrated by one particular operator, but why punish local businesses and citizens for one bad actor – just punish the bad actor. This expected moratorium is bad for Broomfield and bad for Colorado. But, since when have fractivists cared about anyone or anything other than their own agenda?