County selects six for Energy Advisory Board

Jeremy Heiman
Special to the Post Independent

The Garfield County Commissioners selected six citizen members for the new county Energy Advisory Board Monday.

The Energy Advisory Board will provide a forum for discussions between energy companies and landowners, said Doug Dennison, Garfield County’s oil and gas auditor.

“Hopefully, it will be in an atmosphere where both parties are listening to what the other has to say,” Dennison added.

A major factor in the selection of the members was that each owns land in one of the six areas currently affected by gas drilling activity.

Citizen members, chosen from among 11 applicants, are Garland Anderson representing Grass Mesa, Kathryn Bedell for Roan Creek, Orlyn J. Bell for the Divide Creek and Dry Hollow area, Scott W. Brynildson for Mamm Creek and Hunter Mesa, Samuel B. Potter for Taughenbaugh Mesa, Morrisania Mesa and Rulison and Joan L. Savage for Parachute and Battlement Mesa.

Also on the board will be representatives of towns and school districts in the western part of the county, the Holy Cross Cattlemen’s Association, the Grand Valley Citizens Alliance, the Battlement Mesa Oil and Gas Committee (a citizens’ group), Garfield County government and energy companies working in the county.

Colorado Mountain Club, a recreational group, would like to be represented as well.

The commissioners only appointed the citizen members on Monday.

Dennison said the board may have as many as 20 voting members in all.

The board’s first meeting is tentatively set for April 1, Dennison said. That meeting will be an organizational meeting, he said, to lay out the board’s mission and goals, and to set procedures for future meetings.

Previously, gas companies and gas industry trade groups opposed forming a Garfield County Energy Advisory Board.

They advised the commissioners to create an advisory committee within the framework of the state-government-sponsored Northwest Colorado Oil and Gas Forum, and said the forum should continue to act as the main venue for communication between the county, operators, the state oil and gas commission and citizens.

This position was opposed by citizens and by Commissioner Tresi Houpt, who contended that the forum was perceived as being controlled by the energy industry.

Production of natural gas has doubled in the county since 2000, and Garfield County is now the third largest producer in Colorado.

Gas production continues to increase. For 2004, the state has already approved more than 500 new gas wells in the county.

Contact Jeremy Heiman: 945-8515, ext. 534

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