Letter: Garfield County Commissioners are selling out our future
On Thursday, Garfield County Commissioners approved a dangerous well pad in the Battlement Mesa PUD. The well is within 500 feet of seven homes, within 1,000 feet of 51 homes and 2,000 feet from the Colorado River. This application sets a dangerous precedent for future applications that will negatively affect property values and rights in Garfield County, and is a prime example of Garfield County commissioners supporting private gains at public losses.
The issue goes beyond this pad, the Garfield County commissioners have a track record of ignoring public comments expressing concern about dangerous oil and gas wells, and have again and again demonstrated they are beholden not to their constituents, but to the oil and gas industry. This sentiment was heartbreakingly expressed in a Nov. 16 public hearing on the application by Garfield County resident Jennifer Moore who explained that to her it was a moral issue. After attending several hearings Moore felt frustrated and unimpressed by the process telling the commissioners, “the people are powerless to protect ourselves” (quoted in a Nov. 17 article in the Post Independent).
Another resident of Garfield, who moved away from Battlement, Sheryl Brandon, told the commissioners, “I’d like one of you to move out there and see what it’s like.”
Planning and Zoning Commissioner Michael Sullivan also voiced his opposition, explaining the nefarious legal nature of the application, noting he had found “at least 17 different issues of noncompliance with the code in regard to this application.”
Holding officials accountable on a local level and opposing dangerous well pads and other operations that threaten public health must become a priority for anyone who lives in Garfield County, the United States and around the world. If we want a safe planet for our future, we need to start showing up and speaking up for what we believe in. I encourage everyone to join people like Jennifer, Sheryl, Michael and many others by speaking up and making our voices heard.