County commissioners visit Ursa sites ahead of vote
With the Garfield County commissioners’ final decision on whether to allow a small injection well in the Battlement Mesa residential area expected in less than a week, the commissioners on Thursday morning visited the potential well site.
The site visit included stops at Ursa Operating Co.’s proposed A Pad, where the injection well will be located, the F Pad, where the temporary water storage facility will be located, and the L Pad.
The visit lasted for about an hour, and while the commissioners went through each of the sites with few questions, Commissioner Mike Samson asked for clarification on the location of the nearby mobile home park after arriving at Pad A.
Last month, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission rejected one of Ursa’s forms pertaining to Well Pad A because preapplication notices were not sent to all building owners in the buffer zones.
The owners of several individual mobile homes in Battlement Mesa’s Tamarisk Village mobile home park were not notified of Ursa’s application and should have been, Matt Sura, attorney for citizen organizations Battlement Concerned Citizens and Grand Valley Citizens Alliance, wrote in a letter sent to the COGCC last month.
COGCC officials determined that mobile homeowners should have been notified about Well Pad A and were not.
While the issue of the buffer zone was brought up at the September county Planning Commission hearing that approved of Ursa’s project, it was determined then that Ursa had not violated the county’s notice policy.
However, COGCC Rule 305.A states that notice of intent to conduct oil and gas operations must be sent to all building unit owners within 1,000 of the buffer zone.
Because Tamarisk Village is located on the ridge above Well Pad A, it was not visible from the pad, which is why Samson needed clarification.
Of the three commissioners, Tom Jankovsky asked the most questions, mainly looking for clarification to get a better understanding of each pad’s location.
At the L Pad, located off of Spencer Parkway in Battlement Mesa, Jankovsky asked where the access road will be located to better hide the pad.
Ursa Operations Superintendent Matt Honeycutt said that the plan will be to add a median on Spencer Parkway at the pad entrance to provide a left turn so truck drivers won’t have to go through the community. He used enlarged project maps to better explain where the pad sits in the overall community.
The site visit occurred less than 24 hours after Western Colorado Congress, Battlement Concerned Citizens and Grand Valley Citizens’ Alliance invited members of the community to a presentation and information session about Ursa’s project.
One of the main speakers of the night, Garfield County Planning Commissioner Michael Sullivan, spoke against the project.
Sullivan was the loudest voice on the Planning Commission during the phase II hearing in September and urged the rest of the commission to deny the application.
On Wednesday night he said that the commissioners have to find only one violation in Ursa’s applications as it pertains to Garfield County and “we will see what happens.”
The county commissioners will hold a special hearing at the Grand Valley Recreation Center next Tuesday at 9 a.m. to begin Ursa’s phase II applications. That hearing will be continued and concluded two days later on Thursday at 9 a.m. in Glenwood Springs.