Letter: Battlement Mesa outrage
I moved to Battlement Mesa for the beautiful views, the fresh air, and the quiet serenity of the surrounding mountains. As a new homeowner, there were things I didn’t know — like the fact that the planners who approved building the Villages in Battlement are now recommending drilling sites right in our residential community.
Small communities offer opportunities to participate in local government, right? I recently attended the site tour (or sales presentation) Ursa hosted for Garfield planning commissioners. Surprisingly, only Ursa’s representatives or the commissioners were allowed to speak. We visited a proposed site for a drilling pad for 28 wells. It is just down the hill from my home. I’ll be able to watch, hear and smell the entire operation from my office window, perhaps for years to come. So much for the beautiful views, fresh air, and mountain serenity.
The next night was the five-hour meeting of the planning commissioners. After 90 minutes summarizing Ursa’s application for in-town drilling, and 90 minutes for Ursa speeches (mostly sales pitches), Garfield County citizens were finally allowed to speak. Each got three minutes to quickly voice concerns. While the commissioners did broach questions and comments to Ursa, they were mute to our concerns. They did, however, note when each speaker’s time was up. Ursa was allowed to react to our comments, but we could not respond to theirs. Well, so much for participatory government.
Fred Jarman, community development director, delineated the differences between rights of homeowners (aka “surface owners”) and mineral lessees. Who do you think has the greater input into community development: mineral lessees, or “surface owners?” Yup, mineral lessees. Mr. Jarman advocated far more for Ursa than for the community he is developing.
Here’s a news flash: Battlement Mesa is considered an “experiment” for establishing the feasibility of drilling, fracking, pipeline installation and pumping gas from within communities. This is outrageous. Please join me in exposing the dangers of this audacious affront to our community. Get Ursa’s drilling outside our residential area.
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