Ursa submits plans to drill in Battlement PUD
Ursa Resources has submitted preliminary documents with Garfield County calling for 53 natural gas wells within the Battlement Mesa Planned Unit Development.
Don Simpson, vice president of business development for Ursa, confirmed the plans, saying, “it’s really preliminary.”
While the county has yet to determine the completeness of the application, which is needed before the plans are released for public review, the submittal is a significant step — and an undesirable one for some residents — in a process dating back years.
When Ursa purchased the assets of Antero Resources in the Piceance Basin in 2012, there were 10 identified well pad locations within the PUD. Ursa has reduced that number to seven, which Simpson said is pretty much the maximum number of pads it would consider within the PUD.
“We’re continuing to look for other locations outside the PUD,” he added.
Repeating long-held objections, Dave Devanney, chair of the Battlement Concerned Citizens group, said many residents do not want to see a single pad within the PUD.
“This is a very industrial operation and we question where that kind of operation is compatible with communities that have schools and homes and hospitals,” he said.
The land use application for the two pads was submitted June 17, less than a week before the county commissioners approved Ursa’s application for an injection well roughly 1.5 miles south of Battlement Mesa.
While Ursa has the legal right to drill in the area, Devanney worries the operation could have negative impacts on the Battlement Mesa community, including a possible exodus by residents who do not want to live in such close proximity to an oil and gas operation.
“They don’t feel, whether justified or not, that the risk to their health is worth it and they’ve stated that they’re going to leave the community,” Devanney said.
For its part, Ursa will continue to engage the community to address concerns, Simpson said, adding that more than 70 people turned out for an Ursa community event several weeks ago.
Devanney said Battlement Concerned Citizens will continue to work with the state to try and strengthen regulations related to drilling sites in close proximity to residential areas.
The county has until July 16 to determine whether or not Ursa’s application is complete, according to Fred Jarman, director of Garfield County Community Development. He previously said he hoped to start reviewing the application this week.
Public hearings will likely be scheduled at least 45 days from the date the application is determined to be complete.
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