Letter: Disrespect for Battlement residents
My wife and I moved from Glenwood Springs to Battlement Mesa in 1994. We are extremely disappointed in the Board of County Commissioners’ approval of special use permits allowing Ursa Resources to drill gas wells within the subdivision. The BOCC approval shows total disrespect and disregard for the residents of Battlement Mesa, most of whom purchased homes in a “covenant-protected community” without notice of the number of gas wells agreed to by the developer of the PUD. The surface use agreements allowing for more than one well per drill site were neither recorded, nor were details disclosed.
During the BOCC site visit, the commissioners showed no interest in asking probative questions of Ursa as to the concerns of residents. The attending Battlement Mesa residents were not allowed to speak or ask questions. The commissioners appeared to be uninterested and seemed to want to finish with the site visit as soon as possible.
During the entire approval process, the rights of the mineral estate owners and the revenue to the county appeared to be the sole concerns of the BOCC.
The first recorded notice of Ursa’s surface use agreement with the developer was a memorandum recorded in June 2015. The residents heard that when Antero (Ursa’s predecessor) was the operator, it was not interested in pursuing drilling within the subdivision because of the numerous concerns of its residents, but Texas-based Ursa was unconcerned with assuming this position. Perhaps Ursa knew that the BOCC would be its ally.
The residents of Battlement Mesa are now exposed to three years of industrial nuisance during Phase 1. We are further exposed to all of the potential negative factors brought to the commissioners’ attention during the two plus days of hearings. The mineral estate owners, and Ursa as operator, got 100 percent of what they wanted. What did the residents get with this approval? Where is the balance in this?
Bill and Sue deWinter
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