Battlement injection well wins initial OK
After two hearings and nearly seven hours of testimony and presentations, the Garfield County Planning Commission on Tuesday evening approved of all six of Ursa Operating Co.’s applications, including allowing a small injection well within Battlement Mesa’s residential area.
While the injection well had the closest vote at 4-3, the application was ultimately approved by the Planning Commission. The Garfield County Commission will review the applications next.
“I believe the applicant has gone to substantial lengths to mitigate, and I think the record is pretty clear that they worked pretty hard,” said Planning Commissioner Keith Lammey, who added that the board’s challenge is to find the balance between mineral rights owners and landowners.
“They have been as good as we can possibly expect as being good operators. We could have done worse than who we have before us. On the basis of trying to find balance on this issue, I’m going to move [to recommend Ursa’s application],” Lammey said.
The six applications include 55 natural gas wells to be drilled at two well pads in the unincorporated residential area, a small injection well at one of the pads, a natural gas pipeline associated with both pads and a temporary water storage facility.
Ursa owns mineral rights under the 5,000-person community and last year won Garfield County and state approval to drill for natural gas from inside the Battlement Mesa housing area. Since then, the company has looked into placing an injection well within the planned unit development to dispose of wastewater more efficiently than trucking it away, a proposal that continues to receive heavy criticism.
The sole commissioner who spoke against the application, Michael Sullivan, urged the Planning Commission to deny the application.
“Let’s not just look at the short term, but please keep in mind 30, 50, up to 100 years down the road,” he pleaded with the rest of the commission. “I believe this application benefits the stockholders of Ursa period and a small portion of employment in Garfield County.”