Council: No oil & gas traffic on Glenwood streets
To a round of loud applause from supporters of the Thompson Divide Coalition, Glenwood Springs City Council reaffirmed its stance against the proposed use of city streets leading to and from the Four Mile Road corridor as an oil and gas haul route.
Council voted unanimously at its Thursday night meeting reiterating the city’s opposition to the use of city streets for access to controversial gas leases within the Thompson Divide region south of Sunlight Mountain Resort.
“We need to remain on record that we don’t want this in our community,” Councilman Matt Steckler said in support of the motion offered by fellow Councilor Stephen Bershenyi.
At the same time, the city needs to be prepared to “deal with the fallout and consequences” of possible legal action that is anticipated from SG and other energy companies seeking access into the area, Steckler said.
The city was responding to a request from Houston-based SG Interests in late July to “initiate conversations” with the city regarding use of the route, involving 27th Street and south Midland Avenue.
The route is proposed to be used for access to an exploratory gas well within the Wolf Creek Storage Unit portion of the Thompson Divide area south of Glenwood Springs.
Should the city entertain negotiations with SG, the company “is receptive to engaging the city in discussions to develop traffic control plans for this well,” Eric Sanford, SG’s operations and land manager, indicated in a July 29 email to Mayor Michael Gamba.
SG has filed an official notice of staking for the new test well with the Bureau of Land Management, which will be the subject of a year-long BLM/Forest Service environmental analysis.
Garfield County commissioners earlier this summer also reiterated their opposition to the use of Four Mile Road as a haul route to get a drilling rig and other equipment to and from the well site.
A required site visit for federal land management officials and others to meet with SG representatives on Tuesday morning also drew a contingent of activists who remain opposed to new drilling within the sprawling 221,000 Thompson Divide area that stretches south from Four Mile Park to McClure Pass.
“It’s pretty clear that this community does not believe the Thompson Divide is an appropriate place for oil and gas development and that Four Mile is not an appropriate haul route,” Zane Kessler, executive director for the Thompson Divide Coalition, said before council.
“It’s not that we think oil and gas development can’t occur anywhere, it’s that there are just special places where it’s inappropriate,” Kessler said.
Kessler also referred to studies showing the economic impacts of hunting, recreation, grazing and other public lands activities in the area outweigh any speculative or short-term gains from energy development.
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The Glenwood Hot Springs Lodge experienced vandalism in the form of significant water damage after a man removed a pipe valve with a fire extinguisher flooding four hallways. The lodge however remains open and operational.