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There's a 'border war' brewing in Broomfield, Adams Counties

Posted: 9:36 PM, Oct 13, 2017
Updated: 2017-10-14 00:59:54-04

DENVER -- Disputes over new oil & gas developments can be common. But they aren't often called "border wars.”

A new set of more than 80 wells are being proposed within Broomfield County. But 65 of them sit close to the border of Adams County, and nearby neighbors aren't happy. 

"They removed it from most of their residents all the way into our residential area," Adams County resident Pam Wanek said, raising concerns of noise, traffic, pollution, property values, and other issues. 

Wanek lives in one of about 200 nearby homes in Adams County just south of the proposed development. The wells are planned at least 750 feet from homes, which meets the state requirement. But what makes this unique is that it isn't just neighbors that are upset. 

"It’s a border war basically," Adams County Commissioner Eva Henry told Denver7. 

The county isn't pleased either. 

"Adams County wasn't notified by Extraction or Broomfield plus our citizens weren't notified until a week ago that this was a possibility," she said.

Since the new wells will be in Broomfield, the process has been handled mostly in Broomfield. Some Adams County residents told Denver7 they were shut out from speaking at a recent meeting with state oil and gas reps since they don’t live in the jurisdiction. 

"They’re in Broomfield County but it's against Adams County and we're not getting a voice in any of this," Wanek said. 

So Extraction Oil & Gas spokespeople held a neighborhood meeting to field questions from the concerned Friday.

"There will be benefits to this Adams County neighborhood," spokesman Brian Cain said. "Specific to Adams County we will be removing 13 old wells.”

Extraction Oil & Gas plans to remove old wells within both Broomfield and Adams Counties as part of the project, as well as pay out mineral rights to certain residents. But those that brought concerns to our cameras say that isn't enough.

"It's what they call a dog and pony show," Wanek said, saying she believes the decisions are already made. "We are more impacted than anyone and we are not getting voice in this."

The other big issue here is the timeline. The proposed drilling plan will go in front of the Broomfield City Council in eleven days, on October 24. 

Adams County Commissioners and residents say they plan on fighting this until then and then challenge the permitting process with the state oil and gas commission.