Garfield County groups request hearing on Battlement Mesa gas plan | PostIndependent.com

Garfield County groups request hearing on Battlement Mesa gas plan

This well pad, with sound walls on three sides, is adjacent to the Battlement Mesa PUD.
Randy Essex / Post Independent |

After approving Ursa’s Phase II drilling operations in the Battlement Mesa community, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission will hear from representatives of three area environmental groups on Monday that are hoping to reverse the decision.

Members of Battlement Concerned Citizens, Grand Valley Citizens Alliance and Western Colorado Alliance are planning to speak during the comment portion of Monday’s COGCC meeting to voice their concerns about the project.

“The permit for the controversial BMC A Pad, part of the second phase of oil and gas development in the Western Slope community of Battlement Mesa, was partially issued in the 11th hour of the Hickenlooper administration,” states a press release from Battlement Concerned Citizens, referring to the decision earlier this month.

The community organizations will make a formal request at Monday’s hearing to have a full debate on the proposal.

They maintain that the A Pad is one of the most reckless proposals in the state and an example of how the oil and gas regulatory system is failing to protect Colorado’s residents.

Ursa received final approval for the A Pad to drill 24 wells and a wastewater injection well on site. It will begin the company’s phase two drilling plans in the Battlement Mesa after phase one sites moved into production last year.

“Approving this drilling application presents a clear and present danger to the entire Battlement Mesa community,” Devanney continued. “If the state approves this type of project it will set a dangerous precedent for other communities around the state of Colorado.”

Grand Valley Citizens Alliance chair Leslie Robinson will be traveling to Denver on Monday to make the request in person at the COGCC meeting.

She said the plan puts wells and other facilities 500 feet from a mobile park neighborhood, and even closer to Battlement Mesa’s wastewater treatment plant. The pad would also be about 900 feet from the Colorado River, and would dig 90 feet into a hillside below the mobile home park.

“GVCA members are especially concerned about the engineering analysis on the retaining wall that is supposed to keep the hillside from collapsing on the rig and wastewater treatment plant just below it,” Robinson said in the release. “The COGCC should have considered the wall be built first to determine the safety of the pad location before approving [the permits].

“The COGCC failed to take into account the cumulative effects upon citizen health caused by multiple fracked wells. With the many odor complaints generated when other pads were developed within Battlement neighborhoods, this means there’s something seriously wrong with drilling too close to homes that the COGCC did not consider when they approved Pad A.”

azorn@citizentelegram.com