Antero plans increased drilling activity south of Silt
SILT, Colorado – Antero Resources Piceance Corp. has recently filed a comprehensive drilling plan application for an 8,200-acre area known as the South Gravel Trend, which parallels the southern boundary of the town of Silt.The plan calls for the construction of 21 new well pads, potential expansion of 41 existing well pads, and the drilling of up to 850 new wells from those pads over the course of six years.The plan also proposes roads, pipelines and other facilities, according to information submitted for review by Silt Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) at a meeting on Nov. 1.As of August, Antero reported in its application, it had drilled 203 wells from its 41 pads in the area, and that it has permits for 255 more wells from those existing pads.Town officials, through a breakdown in communications, nearly missed a comment period allotted by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC), which oversees drilling activity in the state, according to town administrator Pamela Woods.Woods said the town staff hastily pulled together a set of comments and sent them off on the day of the deadline, Oct. 26.The town government’s comments mentioned concerns over water contamination, traffic congestion and damage to roads and bridges, and the welfare of nesting bald eagles at the publicly owned Silt River Preserve along County Road 346.An Oct. 18 memo from town planner Janet Aluise to the P&Z said the town government’s first official notice of the drilling plan came in a call from Garfield County environmental health manager Jim Rada on Oct. 12.In the memo, Aluise wrote that she could find “no evidence that [the town] had actually received the application for review.”Her memo reported that an Antero official, Lars Inman, sent her information on the drilling plan for discussion at the planning commission meeting.She wrote that Inman also informed her that Mayor Dave Moore was listed as Antero’s contact in Silt, and that Inman reported Moore had submitted comments regarding the drilling plan on behalf of the town.When contacted on Thursday by the Post Independent, Moore said he could not recall receiving or commenting on the drilling plan. Nor could he remember deciding to not forward the drilling plan to the town trustees or the P&Z.”I don’t recall the words, comprehensive drilling plan,” Moore said. He said he receives “many, many letters that I sign, that are not relevant to the board’s approval.”When told that the town’s staff had just managed to put together comments about the plan by the Oct. 26 deadline, Moore replied, “I had never heard that they didn’t know there was a plan in the works.”Moore said he is a general supporter of gas drilling.”I’m pro-gas, provided they follow the safety rules, the environmental guidelines, the vehicular traffic, that they make repair and maintenance of any roads and bridges they destroy, maintain a respect for the land,” he said.To avoid any similar communication breakdowns in the future, Woods said she has made herself as town manager and Aluise as town planner the town’s primary contacts for the Oil and Gas Commission.After being told of the town’s situation, COGCC spokesman Todd Hartman said the drilling plan is in its early stages of review and the town will have further opportunities to make comments regarding the plan as it moves through the review process.The COGCC’s permitting supervisor, Jane Stanczyk, added that the drilling plan is at such an early stage of review that it is not available for public inspection on the agency’s email@example.com
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