Garfield County to discuss intervention in neighborhood drilling plans
Post Independent staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Garfield County’s elected leaders will answer requests for support today from two neighborhoods where some residents believe they are under siege by gas drilling companies.
The county’s liaison for oil and gas issues, Judy Jordan, will be asking how the Board of County Commissioners wants to deal with three newly proposed drilling sites just outside the unincorporated community of Battlement Mesa.
The drilling sites, or “pads” as they are known in the industry, came to light recently when a leader of the Battlement Concerned Citizens organization (BCC) discovered three applications for permits to drill on file with the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC).
The applications were filed by the Antero Resources company, which is one of numerous companies active in the resource-rich Piceance Basin, which underlies much of Garfield County.
Antero last year announced plans to drill up to 200 wells, from nine well pads, within the boundaries of Battlement Mesa, which is next to the town of Parachute and home to some 5,000 people.
Some of the residents, led by the BCC, have been resisting the drilling plan, worried about the potential negative impacts on air and water quality as well as on their property values.
The wells within the community’s boundaries are subject to county review, thanks to a provision included in the original approval documents for the development there.
Wells in other parts of the county have no such review requirement, nor do the three wells now being proposed to the COGCC.
At Monday’s meeting, Jordan will ask the commissioners whether they want her to become involved in some way concerning the three wells. Intervention already was requested by the BCC on Nov. 24.
One of the three well pads, according to an e-mail from BCC co-chair Ron Galterio, is near the intersection of Stone Quarry Road and Monument Trail. Two others, he wrote, “are located very near Tamarisk Meadows, just west of Stone Quarry Road.”
Also scheduled for the Monday meeting is an appearance by Dave Pegg of the Rifle/Silt/Peach Valley/NewCastle Alliance (RSPN), who will ask for “confirmation of intervention with COGCC on 10-acre well spacing.”
Antero also is the company behind new drilling activities in the Silt Mesa/Peach Valley area. The prospect of an unknown number of drilling rigs in the area has upset residents and property owners, and prompted the formation of the RSPN.
The county recently agreed to intervene on behalf of the landowners over concerns that the wells might threaten the health, safety and welfare of those living nearby.
Those concerned about the drilling have pointed to recent reports of people falling ill while living near drilling rigs, of spills involving trucks working for the industry, and other industry-related problems.
On Friday, Grand Junction television channel 11 reported that a tanker truck dumped about 100 gallons of what was termed “hazardous fluid” on Friday, after barrels of the fluid fell off the truck bed while it was going around a turn on Highway 65 over Grand Mesa.
A state HazMat team, dressed in full protective gear, cleaned up the spill and reported that none of it got into any nearby waterways.
The county commissioners meeting begins at 8 a.m. in the county administration building, 108 Eighth St. in Glenwood Springs.
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