Vista del gas patch

Last fall Antero announced big plans for a drill-baby-drill fest south of Silt – aka South Gravel Trend“The plan calls for the construction of 21 new well pads, potential expansion of 41 existing well pads, and the drilling of up to 850 new wells from those pads over the course of six years.”  The application was pulled in November and nothing further was said. Silt Community Development Director Janet Aluise made several attempts to schedule meetings with Antero reps but they did not respond.

In the May 10 COGCC emailing, on the docket were two permit applications from Antero, one for 509-acre exploratory drilling and spacing unit and another for a 640-acre exploratory drilling and spacing unit south of Silt.

COGCC Hearing Docket May 2012

I emailed Janet Aluise and she replied that she didn’t know whether these were part of the South Gravel Trend and she was looking into it. For the time being, I will assume they are. Because if they are not, then it’s too depressing to think the future will be even worse than we imagined.

In the meantime, drilling activity south of Silt has already increased throughout the winter and spring. At least 5 rigs are visible from Silt, and I know of 3 wells that were fracked in the past month, within a mile of the Colorado River. Several ugly well pads are in various stages of construction. We already have air quality issues. The brown cloud is often visible when looking SW from Silt toward Mamm Mountain. We’ve had a lot of wind this spring, which helps clear the air. There’s light pollution at night from the rigs. Silt’s panoramic vistas — once breathtaking — now make me gasp.

I took these photos from Silt cemetery hill.

Due south – Mineota Estates is really getting fracked

SE view – these two rigs are less than a mile from Coal Ridge HS

SW view – notice the light brown haze around Mamm Mtn

In addition there’s one well pad on the Silt River Preserve, where bald eagles have nested forever in the cottonwoods along the river. There are two more well pads directly across the road (CR 346). The eagles have abandoned the River Preserve. It appears they moved closer to River Park (aka Dogland) because eagle sightings have gone way up this spring. In March, I watched a pair of eagles harass the owls. Ann Ramsey also found a nest of baby raccoons in a tree at River Park. I wonder if they came from the River Preserve. This year at the park we have a lot more wildlife competing for the same space. The good news is it’s great for bird watching. The bad news is it’s an indication the wildlife are definitely impacted by the increased drilling activity.

Funny how the town prohibited dogs at the River Preserve because they would presumably scare off the wildlife. Now the wildlife are obviously fleeing from the gas drilling to seek refuge among the humans and dogs on a couple islands upriver. Makes me wonder. What exactly are they “preserving” at Silt River Preserve?

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