Oct. 19–Broomfield officials are engaging the public on oil and gas issues with a multi-pronged communications plan.
The process includes a complaint system, online information on what residents can expect as oil and gas development proceeds, and possibly banners in the community and direct mailers to homes near affected areas.
Director of Strategic Initiatives Tami Yellico said the plan was put together in August as the volume of oil and gas information was about to grow with the oncoming development from Extraction Oil & Gas, Inc.
Increased communications started with a redesign of the oil and gas web page, which now has a news-feed feature that can change daily and include updates in regard to pipeline construction, the air quality monitoring program, and any other relevant information.
Another feature is the complaint system which went online Sept. 30, and as of Tuesday had generated two complaints. Residents who don’t want to file a complaint online can call work with a staff member who will fill out the form for citizen.s If the resident believes it’s an emergency, they need to call 911.
Residents will need to pick a broad category, such as noise, odor or traffic, and then answer questions that can help the city employee understand the complaint.
Online, the resident will get an immediate response saying Broomfield has received a complaint and will act upon it. Residents are expected to be contacted within five business days.
Health and Human Services will review each complaint, Yellico said, and if they can’t answer, it will be sent to the appropriate department. Other departments also can enter complaints in the system.
A detailed flowchart that outlines the complaint process will be presented to city council in a matter of weeks.
Yellico is meeting with an oil and gas designee with Adams County, as well, to update them on activity. Adams County residents who live near the Broomfield drill sites also can sign up for email updates through the website, or sign up for Broomfield’s “B in the Loop” notifications concerning oil and gas.
A “What Does Drilling Look Like?” campaign also is in the works, she said, with information on what to expect at various stages of development.
All information, including upcoming council and planning and zoning meetings that deal with oil and gas, also will be pushed to multimedia and social media platforms. Broomfield employees also have reached out to homeowner associations, including Anthem Ranch, Anthem Highlands and Wildgrass, to discuss both oil-related and general emergency preparedness plans, as well as the air quality program.
Ward 2 Councilwoman Sharon Tessier said when she suggested an emergency drill, she was imagining that in the case of an evacuation, “do neighbors know who may need extra help, who has small children, or “latchkey kids.”
Yellico said when they made those emergency presentations, one thing they stressed was what people need in their vehicles and knowing who their neighbors are.
Tuesday night’s presentation from Yellico and Anne Lane, director of communications and governmental affairs, also was to get feedback from council.
Of the two complaints filed so far, one was a person complaining about advertisements during the Denver Broncos game on Amendment 112, Yellico said in response to a question from Ward 5 Councilman David Beacom.
“He also asked why did we allow oil and gas development in Broomfield,” Yellico said. “We responded to that.”
The second complaint was from a property developer concerned about mud he saw on the roadway and attributed to oil and gas. Yellico said Extraction does clean roadways daily, and that staff followed-up with the company to make sure they knew the area in question.
There is other development in the area, she said, and it can be difficult to tell who tracked mud.
When asked if mailers could be added to water bills to avoid paying extra postage, Lane said those would not to go residents living in apartments who are not billed for their own taps. A direct mailer would be better, she said. It could cost between $3,000 to $5,000, depending on the scope.
Mayor Pro Tem Bette Erickson, who said she does not support emergency drills that were proposed as a possible option, likes the idea of banners.
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