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Gas developer honored by local group

Post Independent/Donna Gray
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RIFLE – A conservation group founded with the aim of lessening the impact of oil and gas development in western Garfield County paid tribute to an oil and gas company Thursday. The Grand Valley Citizens Alliance bestowed its Gene Park Corporate Citizen Award on Antero Resources for its work on the Rifle, Silt and New Castle Community Development Plan that directs oil and gas operations from Rifle to New Castle through clustered drilling and best management practices.Terry Dobkins, vice president for production for Antero Resources, accepted the award for the company, saying trust between residents and the company was crucial to developing a plan that would work for everyone.”We’re not opponents, but on the same side,” he said. “We must continue to talk to each other.”Garfield County Commissioner Trési Houpt applauded Dobkins for his willingness to work with residents to craft a plan that would take into consideration the concerns of both sides.

“Terry really took the lead and was instrumental in keeping this together,” she said. “To have that kind of balanced approach is critically important.”Also recognized were GVCA members Peggy Utesch, Liz Lippett and Christy Hamrick, who received the Shirley Willis Outstanding Member award for their role in the community development plan.Utesch said Antero stood out among oil and gas companies that usually “treat people on the ground as collateral damage. I have to thank Antero for being one of the first companies to recognize that (everyone had a place at the table).””I thank you Antero for sitting down with us and listening to our needs,” said Liz Lippett.

The awards were named for GVCA founding members Gene Parks and Shirley Willis. The group was founded in 1997 in response to a decision by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to reduce surface well spacing from 160 to 40 acres.Parks died in 2004, but Willis was present at the award ceremony at the Brickyard Square restaurant in Rifle.”In 1997 we had our dander up,” said Willis, who is 83. “We had the group go to Denver to protest and we’ve been protesting ever since. But we never did try to stop the drilling.”While the group recognizes the necessity of developing gas resources, it works to protect the landscape and its inhabitants.



“You can live without gas, maybe not comfortably, but you can’t live without clean air and water,” she said.Contact Donna Gray: 945-8515, ext. 510dgray@postindependent.com


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