Rocky Flats Stewardship Council pushes talks of fracking opposition to summer session

The Rocky Flats Stewardship Council on Monday tabled until summer a discussion of a potential motion opposing future oil and gas development applications, suggesting a need for further deliberation among local governments that make up the board‘s larger membership before moving forward.

Absent any current drilling proposed for the site once host to a nuclear weapons plant, the motion — drafted by one of the board‘s Superior members, Mark Lacis — is largely symbolic. Lacis said last week it is meant to put on record a sentiment that could persuade regulators against allowing future applications aimed at the region.

Any official decision on the matter will have to wait until the board‘s June 3 session, or perhaps ever longer, the Stewardship Council‘s Executive Director David Abelson said Monday. Despite some extensive discussion on the proposal (and the particularly fraught issue of fracking Rocky Flats at large), Abelson said the motion likely will require some additional vetting before it is officially introduced.

The motion as it stands now — essentially an opposition to “any and all” oil and gas development on Rocky Flats — also might go through several revisions before it is eventually voted on, he added.

“What it looks like now is ultimately unclear at this point,” Abelson said. “No one (on the board) is going out and supporting fracking at Rocky, but there are questions as to how 10 different governments and four of its community representatives should tackle this issue, and it will require some additional dialogue.”

Formed in early 2006, the Stewardship Council is designed to provide for community oversight of the post-closure management of the former nuclear weapons plant, according to its website.

Though it doesn‘t hold any regulatory authority over the region, the council works with the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The Stewardship Council also works with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on issues related to the management of the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge.

This latest discussion comes just months after Highlands Natural Resources‘ proposed drilling at Rocky Flats, which rankled several bordering communities. The proposal was dropped almost as abruptly as it was submitted in the face of fierce public opposition. Among the applications included plans to drill up to 31 wells from a small undeveloped parcel within Superior town limits that would have extended under the Rocky Flats surface.

The stewardship council at a future meeting also is likely to continue to workshop questions for those governing bodies about the drilling application process and how they gauge oil and gas impacts.