Letter: Gas drilling — are you next?
In 1998 my husband and I bought land in Battlement Mesa from the Battlement Mesa Company and built a house. Now we’re finding out that the company didn’t register with Garfield County the potential drilling pads within the community until 1999. They continued selling property and homes without disclosing this.
There were no drilling rigs to be seen in 1998. That’s probably because up to 1995 Colorado had 160-acre well spacing. Then the Energy Department allowed one to be drilled per 80 acres. Next, in1997 our very own Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission approved one per 40 acres; in 1998 one per 20 acres; and in 2003 one per 10 acres. In 2007 multiple wells (now up to 25) from one well pad were approved.
With 40-acre spacing, well pads were kept in rural areas. Since the drilling boom in the 2000s, our community has been surrounded by drilling pads. Because we are a PUD (Planned Unit Development) and have strict covenants, the gas companies placed their pads just outside our perimeter and have been drilling multiple natural gas wells from each pad, accessing the minerals beneath us using directional drilling (up to 2,500 feet) and fracking.
Now they can access almost all of these minerals underneath us from outside our PUD. The proposed Phase I of Ursa and B. Mesa Co. would put well pads inside the PUD — one by the Colorado River and near our water intake and another within 1,000 feet of homes. There also would be a high-pressure gas line along the back yards of 22 homes. The next two phases would include two well pads along our award-winning golf course and one below a village of homes, plus an injection well.
With an oversupply of gas and low natural gas prices, why is this proposal on the table now? Are we the test case for all of Colorado? If they can come into a PUD, then they can drill anywhere. Will the COGCC and our county commissioners protect us and deny this special use permit?
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