Broomfield city council members heard hours of public testimony Jan. 10, 2017 on a proposed moratorium on drilling and hydraulic fracturing.

Grace Hood/CPR News

Broomfield City Council members have punted on a short time-out ordinance on hydraulic fracturing. Following a lengthy and packed public meeting, the council voted 5-4 to push the vote and resume the meeting Feb. 28.

In a statement, Dan Haley, the president of the Colorado Oil & Gas Association, said the council "made the right call last night in at least temporarily rejecting a divisive moratorium in their community." The statement also said that COGA wants to "work with Broomfield to find collaborative solutions, but by banning oil and gas it would have sent a strong message to our working families and other industries that Broomfield is not open for business."

At issue are four large well pads proposed by Extraction Oil and Gas that will be near homes. The company originally proposed 12, something resident Sarah Hall Mann had concerns about.

“By consolidating these well sites you are creating a great industrial area right next to our schools, our parks and our homes,” she said. Most comments from the public at the meeting were against the project.

But Eric Jacobsen with Extraction Oil and Gas said the “project will be one of the best developed onshore projects in the United States,” as the company plans to use pipelines and other technologies to limit impact.

The Colorado Supreme Court rendered long-term moratoriums illegal in a May 2016 decision. The ruling struck down the city of Longmont’s ban on fracking and the multi-year moratoriums in Fort Collins and Broomfield. At the public meeting, The Broomfield Enterprise reported that City and County Attorney William Tuthill thinks there’s some room to maneuver, citing a line of the decision that referenced length. The current proposal would be shorter, ending June 13, 2017.

Broomfield City council members say the time-out will allow them to review existing regulation, and things like air quality and road impacts of oil and gas development.