Garfield County mapping out its energy development future |

Garfield County mapping out its energy development future

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – An effort to map out where future energy development and other natural resource extraction is likely to occur in Garfield County will not only allow the county to better plan for that development.

It will also give the county another tool to identify constraints and help guide future energy policy in its dealings with the state and federal government, county commissioners said during a Tuesday work session.

Commissioners got their first look at the work completed to date by consultants who are doing the initial mapping for the project.

The goal is to compile information from as many sources as possible and use that to identify where untapped resources exist, where future development is likely to occur, and what constraints exist to hinder that development.

Once the mapping is completed, it can then be used as a basis to craft policy related to energy and mineral resource development in the county, Garfield County Community Development Director Fred Jarman said.

It can also be a reference point for the county as it seeks to influence resource development policy on federal lands, Commissioner Tom Jankovsky said.

“Mapping of these resources on federal land is crucial to me,” Jankovksy said. “Our public lands seem to be under attack, and the whole policy of multiple use seems to be in question from the environmental community.”

Oil shale leasing policy on public lands is just one example, he said.

“There are a lot of barriers to oil shale,” Jankovsky said. “But when you have a trillion barrels of oil in the ground, it’s going to be developed at some point.”

A comprehensive energy development plan for the county will be helpful, he said, “so that when the next issue comes up we have the mapping in place, showing what we see as our future.”

Commissioner John Martin asked that the mapping include not only where energy, mineral and even gravel resources exist in the county, but where access routes and utilities would be, and where water resources exist.

“That’s what I’m getting at, and what I’m hoping to get out of this,” Martin said. “I want this to be a model so other counties and other states can use it and [develop similar plans] as well.”

The proposed Garfield County energy plan is intended to address other types of energy development as well, such as wind, solar, geothermal and micro-hydroelectric projects.

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