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Drilling company backed down after 2007 intervention

John Colson
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

As Garfield County prepares to conduct a formal intervention in a gas drilling company’s request for a high-density drilling operation on Silt Mesa, it does so with the knowledge that this is not the first time for such an action.

And, in at least one well publicized case, the gas drilling company backed down, according to a series of news stories in the Post Independent.

The county stepped in on behalf of the Rifle Village South neighborhood in 2007, when the Laramie Energy II drilling company made plans to put a well pad



near a cluster of more than 100 homes and close to a local church.

Laramie filed an application for permission to drill with the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission that fall, and in November, Garfield County Commissioner John Martin told the Post Independent, “We will intervene if it’s a location that affects the neighborhood.”



Under pressure from residents, and from the Grand Valley Citizens Alliance organization, the county agreed to file a formal request for a hearing before the COGCC.

Residents at the time said they were worried about noise, traffic safety, potential health effects from fumes, and other impacts from drilling near the neighborhood, as well as the precedent that might be set if the drilling were permitted.

“Once it’s been done, if you live in a subdivision, who knows, someday an oil rig might be coming to your neighborhood,” said neighborhood resident Jim Golden.

As the Board of County Commissioners got closer to a decision to intervene, Laramie land man Ken Leis told the Post Independent on Nov. 21 of that year that his company would not force a well on the neighborhood if the residents were opposed to it.

Leis also said the company had already ruled out one well-pad location over concerns that the impacts on the neighborhood would be too severe.

In early December of that year, when the commissioners voted to proceed with a formal intervention hearing, Laramie withdrew its application. Leis told a reporter that the company had not decided on an exact location for the pad anyway, and that a full hearing before the COGCC would serve no purpose.

Leis said at the time that the company would continue to seek a way to get at the natural gas reserves below the subdivision, explaining, “We’ll either make it work or there’s a good chance too that some of this stuff may not get drilled.”

jcolson@postindependent.com


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