Extraction Oil & Gas sues Broomfield, claiming it’s targeted by ordinances

BROOMFIELD — Extraction Oil & Gas Inc. (Nasdaq: XOG) has filed suit against the city and county of Broomfield, saying officials there are infringing on the company’s existing operating rights in an attempt to shut down its operations. In a complaint filed Monday in the U.S. District Court of Colorado, Extraction claims the Broomfield City Council was bowing to the demands of local residents that oppose all oil and gas operations in the area by using its regulatory powers to target the company. Specifically, it claims a recently-passed municipal noise ordinance that caps nighttime noise at 40 decibels targets the company because it made clear in years of public outreach that it couldn’t shut down its operations at night and remain economically viable. The suit points to multiple demands in recent weeks filed by the city in municipal court demanding Extraction comply with the ordinance. “Broomfield sought a judge’s imprimatur as a supposed means of cloaking itself with qualified immunity. However, Broomfield’s efforts to engineer and confer qualified immunity upon itself this way only serve to prove the opposite: that Broomfield is not acting in good faith (a core requirement for qualified immunity), but knows it is illegally and unconstitutionally attempting to target Extraction and deprive Extraction of its vested property rights,” Extraction wrote in its suit. Broomfield’s municipal court has scheduled trials against Extraction on those alleged violations starting Monday. Extraction claims the ordinance came despite significant goodwill toward the city and county in reducing the size of its operation from 12 well sites and about 200 wells down to six well sites and 84 wells in 2017, along with millions of dollars worth of noise mitigation upgrades. In particular, it cites a public meeting last September where city manager Jennifer Hoffman said the city was looking to find a way to find Extraction in violation of the existing operator agreement within the context of Senate Bill 181 and a local ordinance, both passed after the 2017 agreement. When it couldn’t do so, Extraction alleges the city changed its tone to say its efforts to shut down the company’s operations were in the interest of public health and now is focusing on noise levels. Extraction is asking the federal court to charge Broomfield damages for its alleged breach of contract and abuse of its police powers, along with an injunction requiring the city and county to seek the federal court’s approval before enacting another law that could harm Extraction’s operations in the city. Broomfield city attorney Shaun Sullivan told BizWest the lawsuit has not yet been served to officials, but said the suit is similar to one filed by Extraction and dismissed last spring. The city plans to vigorously defend itself. “ I wish Extraction would put the money it is spending on legal fees into efforts to address the noise from its industrial operations that disturb the sleep of Broomfield residents who live a mere 1,000 feet away. Broomfield’s noise ordinance is an effort by Broomfield to protect […]
Source: BizWest

Related Articles