Request Adams 12 School Board to Not Sign the Mineral Lease - Protect Health and Safety

Dear Board of Education Members,

We wanted to thank the Board for informing Coyote Ridge Elementary School parents of the lease offer from Extraction for the minerals under the school and the pending discussion of this decision at the November 14 Board Meeting. Many parents of Adams 12 students, along with other Broomfield residents who support the Adams 12 Schools, have serious and ongoing concerns about the health and safety impacts of residential fracking. We understand that at this time the options provided are not ideal, and that there is not one answer that will make everyone happy, but we request that, FIRST and foremost in your decision-making process, you take actions to ensure that the concerns for the health and safety of the school children and families that you represent are addressed.

Recent technological advances in the oil and gas industry have allowed for large-scale oil and gas development in close proximity to residential communities. The rules and regulations that the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) are using have not kept pace with the transition from vertical drilling to horizontal fracking. At the August 1 hearing for Extraction’s wellsites in Broomfield, several commissioners made ominous statements recognizing the unprecedented nature of this project near our neighborhoods, stating directly to Extraction Oil and Gas, that “there is no room for error.”

Although the information sent home to the parents of Coyote Ridge Elementary students indicates that these wells will be drilled from the Sheridan Pad, this information is inaccurate. The Sheridan Pad was previously eliminated and per the COGCC approved applications, these wells are actually being drilled from the Livingston Pad south of the Northwest Parkway and west of Sheridan Blvd, within 1 mile of 1745 homes and 2 miles of 6217 homes. The letter also indicates that these wells are approximately 2 miles from Coyote Ridge Elementary. However, the 19 well Livingston Pad is also within 1 mile of the new Thunder Vista School and within 2 miles of Prospect Ridge Academy and Meridian Elementary. The proximity of the Livingston Pad to so many Adams 12 Schools is the cause of much of the parent’s concern for their children’s health and safety.

Although signing a lease may appear to be the better option financially, the signing of a lease offer will signal to the families of the Adams 12 School district, as well as to the community as a whole and to the State, that this Board chooses oil and gas development over the health and safety of the school children and community. This message is being sent to a community which just passed an Adams 12 school levy and where 57% voted YES on Charter Amendment 301 for Health and Safety in 2017 and where, just a week ago, 55% of Broomfield voters said YES on Proposition 112 for safer setbacks, despite the $40 million dollar oil and gas industry campaign.

By choosing to not sign the lease offer, the Board sends a vital message to the community that the Board hears the health and safety concerns of our community. Many in the community also recognize that the forced pooling process sanctioned by the COGCC needs reform to protect property rights and the Board would join those mineral owners in the community who have taken a stand against it.

Regardless of the action taken on the lease, we request that this Board make it known to the State and to the public that the options provided to the school district are not acceptable. We request that the Adams 12 Five Star School Board consider taking the following actions:

1. Write a letter to Governor Hickenlooper and cc Governor Elect Polis, Broomfield Mayor Ahrens, State Representative Gray, and State Senator Marble. The suggested letter would state the unfair predicament that the Board faces as it tries to prioritize the health and safety of children so that they can focus on learning; and state that it is a waste of taxpayer money for school districts to spend time learning about mineral rights and hiring outside legal counsel. It is time for greater local control.

2. Join the forced pooling protest of the Wildgrass Oil and Gas Committee at the December 17 and 18 COGCC hearings as it also represents other mineral owners in Broadlands. Even if the Board decides to lease, they can join the protest by testifying or writing a letter that they signed the lease under duress.

3. Write a letter to parents detailing the Board’s health and safety concerns, this situation in which the Board feels they have no "voice," and ways that parents can reach out to the State to seek changes in oil and gas permitting by the COGCC.

4. Actively support any 2019 State legislation or COGCC rulemakings including forced pooling and health and safety measures that would provide the children more protections in the future.

5. Request an emergency response plan from the City and practice this drill so that the Staff and children are prepared for oil and gas development related emergencies.
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