Garfield commissioners reject Ursa offer of mediation
In a swift hearing Monday, the Garfield County Board of Commissioners rejected an offer by Ursa Operating Co. to engage in mediation in regards to the location of the BMC A Pad within the Battlement Mesa residential boundaries as county staff deemed it unnecessary. The county Special Use Permit process should effectively serve the review needs for the well pad location, according to staff.
In accordance with Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission procedure, Ursa requested mediation for the proposed BMC A Well Pad since it meets the criteria to be considered a large natural gas development near housing, or LUMA (Large Urban Mitigation Area) Facility.
“Even though Ursa and the county are in agreement with the pace of the permit application process, the mediation had to be offered as a formality, per COGCC rule,” the Garfield County Community Development Department responded in an email.
If accepted the mediation would have concluded within 45 days, unless an extension had been agreed to.
However, county staff determined that “in light of the current Special Use Permit Application submitted to Garfield County for the BMC A Well Pad, utilizing the mediation process does not appear necessary,” according to documents attached with the hearing.
The county commissioners followed the recommendation from staff at Monday’s hearing.
“In today’s decision, the board declined the mediation offer, knowing the Planning Commission and BOCC hearing process are still underway, and are the appropriate public venues for vetting the Special Use Permit Applications,” the community development department added.
“There does not appear to be any need to accept the Ursa offer for mediation, and the County Special Use Permit process should effectively serve the review needs for the BMC A Well Pad,” Garfield County Senior Planner Glenn Hartmann wrote in a response to the mediation for the county commissioners.
The Special Use Permit process will include a public hearing for the proposed well pad location with the Garfield County Planning Commission, scheduled for Sept. 13 at 7 p.m. Once the planning commission holds its hearing and finalizes a recommendation, the recommendation will be sent to the Board of County Commissioners who will ultimately approve, deny or approve with conditions. The board considers, but is not required to accept, recommendations from the planning commission.