Citizens want more protections for gas drilling |

Citizens want more protections for gas drilling

Pete Kolbenschlag

Dear Editor,

From the gas industry (“Roan Plateau gas supplies needed.” Aug. 31) one might think that drill rigs are idle from so many lawsuits filed by “overly zealous environmental groups.” But in Colorado rigs are at their busiest ever, sinking wells as quickly as they can.

In Garfield County drilling has increased over 200 percent since 1999. Some 700 new wells are planned. And if BLM ignores local governments and citizens and follows instead the dictates of Washington, D.C., 3,500 more wells could be approved for the Roan Plateau.

The industry, no stranger to filing lawsuits, claims endless litigation is slowing production. Yet in 2002, over 80 percent of public land gas leases went unchallenged. On the other hand, when communities seek protections for drinking water or recreation, it is industry that is threatening lawsuits (or the industry-dominated state commission).

The Piceance Basin, including Roan Plateau, has over 90 percent of its estimated gas reserves available from public lands open to drilling. A few of those lands are subject to protections for wildlife, watersheds and such, but are open and being developed as quickly as reasonableness allows.

Citizens and communities are demanding more protections, not less. But D.C. isn’t listening. Instead, top-down directives are all for speeding up drilling.

Colorado is a state with a multi-billion dollar tourism economy: How much can we afford to allow energy development to take priority over all other public land uses? Please write your representative today and urge them to keep current public lands safeguards intact.

Pete Kolbenschlag


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