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City Councilman calls constituent 'a monster' as fracking divisiveness reaches new low in Broomfield

Councilman: "I regret saying that."
Posted at 12:31 AM, Aug 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-05 11:45:39-04

BROOMFIELD, Colo. -- The fight over fracking has reached a new low in Broomfield, where a city councilman has resorted to name-calling and telling a constituent to move.

Denver7 obtained the fiery email exchange from David Milender of the political group, The Broomfield Way.

Milender said residents of the Anthem Highlands neighborhood are asking questions about Extraction Oil & Gas plans to put 19 wells on the Livingston Pad adjacent to their peacefully scenic neighborhood, and 84 wells total in the City and County.

“We really don’t know what the impact will be on our communities or our children,” said Cristen Logan, a mother of two.

Logan reached out to the Broomfield City Council Thursday morning via email, asking that they postpone their vote on a comprehensive drilling plan and schedule a public hearing.

In her email, she told council members that a public hearing “isn’t discretionary, it is a process clearly required by the Municipal Code.”

Ward 2 Councilman Mike Shelton quickly responded that “Hysterics and amateur lawyering aren't helping anyone.”

His email then took a darker turn.

“The few words I have for you are far more generous and balanced than the crap that’s come out of your mouth,” he wrote. “You’re a monster and you’ve only been here 5 years.”

He followed up with, “Seriously though, have you started making plans to leave? I mean this town is going to totally be destroyed and people are going to die, soooo.”

Logan couldn’t believe it.

“I don’t think you ever expect, when your write your city council with serious concerns, to be told that you need to leave your home,” she said, “…or to be called a monster.”

She said the comments were “insulting, demeaning and hurtful.”

“I think he should resign,” she added.

Councilman Regrets Name-calling

Shelton declined an on-camera interview, but told Denver7 via email that he regrets the name-calling.

“I don’t need to call people names,” he said.

But the councilman is standing firm on his position that “Milender and Logan are not victims and are leaving out the history of their own vitriol.”

The Councilman said he has served for nearly seven years and that oil and gas have been top issues the whole time.

“Objectivity, long-term planning, professional expertise, and strategic thinking is how oil and gas is best dealt with,” he said.

The Councilman said Milender and Logan are using “hyperbole, exaggeration and character assassination of elected representatives to shame us into violating the law, and intimidating us into caving to their demands.”

He said, “They’ve cherry-picked laws and demanded City Council follow them, while shrugging off other laws and pretending Supreme Court rulings aren’t applicable.”

Concerns About Kids

Logan said there are studies that indicate a higher likelihood of leukemia and increased risk of asthma among children exposed to oil and gas operations.

“As a parent, I’m incredibly concerned to be living this close to so many oil and gas wells,” she said.

Shelton countered that the group’s own divisiveness is impacting school kids.

“They pressured Prospect Ridge Academy into giving backs thousands of dollars that Extraction Oil & Gas had donated to the school, saying acceptance of the money signaled support for oil and gas,” he said.

Second Target

Another Anthem Highlands resident, Laurie Anderson, said she too has been a target of Shelton’s email ire.

Anderson said when she asked about the risk analysis that Extraction Oil & Gas is required to undertake, Shelton wrote, “It’s self-explanatory and has been discussed many times in City Council meetings. Maybe you were too busy making inflammatory pictures and writing hysterical letters to remember it.”

Anderson said she doesn’t believe the risk analysis report exists.

Shelton said it does. He provided a link to the Extraction Comprehensive Drilling Plan and Approval Process and said there was a link to the Risk Management Plan at the bottom of this page.  

Anderson countered that she has reviewed that plan and that "it is not final."

She said she wants a link to the actual risk analysis (whether qualitative or quantitative) - or if Extraction has not completed a full risk analysis, "please simply indicate that."

Whipping Boy

The councilman told Denver7 that he didn’t sign up to be a whipping boy for people who have extreme biases.

He said state rules on oil and gas are antiquated and local staff and councils are essentially "fish in a barrel" thrown under the bus for anyone who wants to vent their frustrations.

“We should all take it down a notch,” he said, “and turn the volume down. The heightened rhetoric puts everyone off balance, ruins friendships and is dangerous to the civility and progress of our state.”