Antero is not honoring community agreement |

Antero is not honoring community agreement

Four years ago, 156 leading citizens of Garfield County, in a de facto endorsement, signed their good names and reputations onto the the Rifle, Silt, New Castle Community Development Plan (CDP) with Antero Resources named as “partner” to develop natural gas on Silt Mesa and Peach Valley. The CDP is available on the Garfield County website, where you can read the names of Garfield County’s 156 leading citizens.

The CDP is purported by its authors as, “a blueprint for how a community and industry can work together to successfully manage natural gas development in a rural residential/agriculture area,” and “This approach will include the creation of a partnership between industry and the community.”

The CDP authors also state: “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem”; and use such aphorisms as: “Think globally, act locally,” “best management practices,” “A vision and partnership for industry and residents,” and “good faith”.

Speaking of good faith; on pages 10 and 11 under “Guideline No 2: the CDP defines “Sensitive Areas” as: “Rural residential areas, subdivisions, within city or town limits, near waterways, dams or irrigation systems, near wildlife areas or migratory corridors, near wetlands or floodplains.”

The CDP also states, “When an area to be drilled is in or near a sensitive area, the desires and concerns of residents will be taken into consideration when determining the number of rigs to be operated on a CD pad or in a neighborhood. Safety, noise, traffic and visual impacts should be taken into consideration … with the goal of limiting those impacts to what is acceptable to area residents.”

Beyond that, on page 6 of the CDP, Antero discloses its intent of “drilling directionally” to depths of only 3,000 feet in Silt Mesa and Peach Valley. Industry proponents of hydraulic “frac’ing” always claim their fracking cannot harm ground water because their wells are fracked more than a mile below the surface. Yet, Antero Resources discloses in the CDP its intent to directionally drill to a depth of only 3,000 feet on Silt Mesa and Peach Valley.

Additionally, Antero’s CDP stated well pad density (on page 10) has leaped from 160 acres to 40 acres. Furthermore, presently pending is an Antero/COGCC “spacing application” for increasing the well density to one well per 10 acres for a 640 acre section in Peach Valley.

This Antero spacing application is scheduled on the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) docket in Denver for Jan. 13. What is not well known (pursuant to COGCC Statute CRS 34-60-116), should this high density, 10-acre Antero Spacing Application be approved, the well density of 64 wells per square mile will then become the precedent for all future well density in Peach Valley and Silt Mesa.

As there are 27 square miles in the impacted area, if the Antero application is approved by the COGCC, there will be a COGCC “rubber stamp” for 1,728 gas wells on Silt Mesa and Peach Valley. Which is a complete antithesis from the, stated 2006 CDP goals of protecting “Sensitive Areas.”

All that said, we politely suggest to the 156 Garfield County citizens whose names appear on the 2006 Community Development Plan, if you now feel that you were duped by the authors of the CDP or that Antero has breached the CDP commitments to We the People of Garfield County, we respectfully suggest you contact Judy Jordan at Garfield County and demand that your name be redacted from the CDP and then contact Deputy County Attorney Cassie Coleman and attach your good name to the official Garfield County intervention into the Antero/COGCC Silt Mesa/Peach Valley spacing application.

Time is of the essence.

Carl and Karen McWilliams are residents of Silt Mesa.

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