Nobody wants to help residents besieged by gas drilling |

Nobody wants to help residents besieged by gas drilling

Dear Editor,

It was with bittersweet emotions that we locked up after the gas drilling forum in Silt Tuesday night. Sweet that we had a great turnout (including all three county commissioners, Mark Bean, and Don DeFord among others) and we got some of the answers we were looking for.

Bitter because nobody left that forum with a smile on their face. Such is the grim nature of this industry. The answers we heard were pretty much what we expected – surface owners have little or no say in how we are treated when the drillers show up at the door.

Bitter because most of the folks who attended seemed to already know the score and probably didn’t learn more than they already knew. There don’t seem to be many people left who don’t already know what’s coming their way.

Most likely they understand and just feel helpless. Too bad nobody wants to help.

A couple tidbits that I learned – along with an apology for some misinformation I presented in a previous letter to the editor: Seems that the gas industry is in fact held accountable for clean air and water standards. Thing is, nobody checks on them to see that they are in compliance. There are only two guys to investigate complaints and violations – they cover 10 counties! It seems that our representatives in Washington (along with Gov. Bill Owens – a former oil and gas lobbyist himself), feel this is enough. With the number of wells in western Colorado increasing exponentially, this understaffing will be a problem.

Coalbed methane – we’ve been hearing lots of rumors around this issue.

Turns out we’ve had CBM in Garfield County for most of 20 years. This summer, at least one test well will be drilled in upper Dry Hollow. Thanks to improvements in technology, these coal beds will almost surely be developed – sooner than you think. And keep in mind that these coal beds underlie a good chunk of our county that is not commonly thought of as threatened by gas development (i.e. Carbondale, Redstone, New Castle). As one of our panelists commented, we need to stay ahead of the curve on this issue.

Chuck Worley – one of the finest human beings I have ever met – wrote in a recent letter about the respect and security that comes from treating others like friends. That’s what is lacking from the gas industry. Would you put a gas well or compressor station in your friend’s backyard? As others have already noted, this is not a case of NIMBY, this is a case of not in anyone’s backyard.

Thanks to all who participated and organized this event, and to those who were unable to attend, keep your eyes and ears open for more events like this in the future. The South of Silt Concerned Landowners, Western Colorado Congress and the Grand Valley Citizens Alliance have put an enormous amount of energy, time and money into this effort. Please look them up and lend your support.


Bob Utesch

Dry Hollow

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