Energy industry reps and citizens clash |

Energy industry reps and citizens clash

Pete Fowler

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Drilling operators and citizens clashed at energy advisory board meetings recently, leading people on both sides to threaten to quit.

Garfield County oil and gas liaison Judy Jordan proposed to county commissioners the possibility of hiring a mediator to lead a discussion at the EAB.

“Both operators and citizen representatives have recently threatened to quit the EAB on claims of perception that it is dominated by the other interest group,” Jordan said in a memo. “Several operators also expressed extreme discontent over one citizen representative’s tendency to present general complaints of conditions that cannot be expressed due to a lack of specificity.”

Minutes from the March 5 EAB meeting say one citizen representative made “general complaints” about traffic, speed, dust, odor, jake brakes, roads, weeds and the “ineffectiveness” of the EAB. The person who was the subject of “extreme discontent” of some of the energy industry representatives is no longer on the EAB. She was serving as an alternate for someone that commissioners removed from the EAB and replaced due to a lack of attendance. She felt persecuted and has said she was forced off the EAB. She couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.

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County commissioners voted to have the EAB, which has three newly appointed citizen representatives, to discuss the matter further and come up with an official position as to how to proceed and whether a mediator is actually necessary. The EAB continues to revise a resolution that created it and describes its mission in hopes that will prevent future problems.

The meetings are held once a month. They’re meant to provide a forum for the oil and gas industry, the public, impacted land owners and local governments to prevent or minimize conflict over oil and gas development.

Despite recent problems, Jordan said she and others believe the EAB has worked well during the past year. She said the recent events are “anomalous.”

“Several specific complaints have been brought to the board’s attention and resolved, and educational presentations have been more balanced than in the past” during the past year, Jordan said in the memo.

Carbondale is looking for applications from anyone interested in representing the town on the EAB. See related story for m ore details.

Contact Pete Fowler: 384-9121

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