Gas drilling comes at whose expense? | PostIndependent.com

Gas drilling comes at whose expense?

Bob Utesch

Dear Editor,

From 1-4 p.m. on Saturday at Wamsley Elementary School in Rifle, an important event will be taking place. Landowners from across the state who have been impacted by escalating natural gas development are gathering to propose changes to regulations that govern the industry.

The goal is to give voice to landowners who feel their concerns are falling on deaf ears.

Extraction industries are a large revenue source for Garfield County – funding that has been used to enrich our communities in many ways.

The question we must ask is, “at whose expense?”

A recently commissioned study of property values in and around gas drilling documented that property values fall significantly with wells in the area, and plummet when a well is located on the property.

With 200 wells proposed in the Rifle and Silt area in 2003, this concern should be on the mind of every rural landowner. Is it fair that the county coffers are full as individual landowners see their equity – sometime their life savings – vanish with the arrival of drilling rigs?

The question is, how can development take place without the severe impacts to the lives of rural residents?

Natural gas is the latest boom. Will agriculture and rural property values be the next bust?

Sincerely,

Bob Utesch

Silt


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