Drilling impacts stretch to Garfield County
Many Garfield County residents deal with the impacts of natural gas drilling in their own back yards.Silt resident Bev Anderson is feeling the effects a couple of counties away.Anderson owns a ranch of some 500 acres on the Little Snake River in Moffat County, in extreme northwest Colorado.While her idyllic getaway is far from Garfield County’s drilling fields, it’s right on a route being sought to send gas produced there to market.Both the 24-inch diameter El Paso Pipeline Group pipeline and 36-inch Entrega pipeline would run through her ranch, if they receive regulatory approval.The lines would help transport gas collected in Garfield County and elsewhere to an east-west pipeline in Wyoming, and then to interstate markets.They would follow the route of an existing pipeline that already went through her property before she bought it.”It’s almost like having an interstate highway going through your property,” said Anderson’s son, Paul. “It’s a pretty big deal. The projects are enormous.”The Entrega project alone is expected to cost $500 million, he said.The Andersons also fear the pipelines will cost them in terms of lost property value, despite what they might receive from the sale of an easement for the pipelines.”Our concerns haven’t been all addressed,” Bev Anderson said.She said the family is continuing to try to work out an agreement with Entrega regarding its pipeline plan.Paul Anderson, in a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, said the family recognizes the difficulty in finding other routes for the pipelines, and the reasoning in following existing easements.But the Andersons worry about the environmental impacts of the pipeline projects.Bev Anderson said she is concerned by the need to route gas under the Little Snake River.”We would not want that water contaminated in any way,” she said.The Andersons say their ranch is in a fragile, sensitive, arid environment with a diverse population of wildlife, including sage grouse and a nesting pair of bald eagles.”The scars from the construction of the Colorado Interstate Gas pipeline 12 years ago are still very much evident on the hillsides on the north and the south sides of the valley of the Little Snake River,” Paul Anderson wrote the FERC.In his letter, he calls for revegetation measures, compressor station restrictions, livestock protections and other means of mitigating the pipeline projects where his mother eventually hopes to build her dream home.”It’s a wonderful property,” Bev Anderson said.Unfortunately, as with the region surrounding her downtown Silt home, it’s also directly in the way of northwest Colorado’s booming natural gas development.Unfortunately, as with the region surrounding her downtown Silt home, it’s also directly in the way of northwest Colorado’s booming natural gas development.
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The BLM will conduct an environmental assessment of the proposed wells needed to begin the NEPA process on the larger quarry expansion.