It is understandable that the residents don't necessarily want oil rigs and heavy pumping equipment in their back yards (especially if they aren't the royalty owners), and the jury is still out on the extent of potential health risks produced by fracking, but I think it is a stretch to claim that this is a complete surprise. Oil & gas development is a major industry in Colorado, and virtually all oil & gas interests are of public record. All of the residents of the subdivision, and especially Commerce City, should have known that oil development was a possibility long before they built or purchased their homes.
It is important for land owners and home buyers to understand that living in a rural or semi-rural area opens the door to conditions and concerns that you wouldn't otherwise have to deal with in a more urban environment. This is a prime example of why it is important to conduct more due diligence and inquire into the potential uses of the surrounding areas before purchasing real property.
While I sympathize with the families of Commerce City who now have a direct view of the pumping stations our of their dining room window, I think the situation could have been avoided with a little foresight and better planning.