Gas industry should see residents as neighbors |

Gas industry should see residents as neighbors

Bob Utesch

Dear Editor,

Recent articles surrounding the odor problems on Grass Mesa illustrate the frustration in dealing with the gas industry. There is clearly a problem with odors from drilling operations that are negatively affecting some residents. Industry is choosing to define the problem using the letter of the law. Because their air-quality test results have shown chemical levels to be within EPA standards, their view is, “there is no problem.”

Residents who live with gas drilling want industry to treat them with concern and respect. Clearly, odors are making some residents ill at worst, degrading quality of life at best. If industry would approach this problem as “good neighbors” rather than hiding behind testing and technical analysis, perhaps residents would be more accepting of this invasive industry.

The Grand Valley Citizens Alliance and other groups have been trying to engage the gas industry to see affected people as neighbors rather than obstacles to profit. Technology exists that can minimize these odors. It is a matter of the richest industry in the world choosing to treat people as an important part of the equation.

It’s unlikely emissions from a single well present a health hazard. Over 300 new wells were drilled in 2003 and perhaps double that may be drilled in 2004. These kinds of issues will multiply with the continued growth of this industry in rural residential areas. We hope the county and industry will work with residents to create solutions based on respect rather than the letter of the law.


Bob Utesch


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