Photo gallery – WCC Gasfield Tour

Call me crazy, but I rode along on the Gasfield Tour during the morning session of the WCC Annual Meeting on October 13. As billed, it was “a rare opportunity to tour the gas patch of Garfield County with people who know it best.”

Frank Smith (WCC Director of Organizing) and Bob Arrington (WCC Board Member and Battlement Mesa resident) were our tour guides as our school bus meandered through the neighborhoods of unincorporated Battlement Mesa, a beautiful mountain community with oodles of green space, which is facing a future of up to 200 new gas wells, including one on the golf course.

Low hanging clouds and drizzle accompanied us as we rumbled along CR 301 past homes, ranchlands, pastures, fall-colored hillsides. Amid this breathtaking expanse of once agricultural splendor are clusters of heavy industry – well pads, rigs, tank farms, compressor stations, wastewater treatment ponds, plus trucks, trucks, and more trucks.

When you are out in the gasfields, if you’re lucky the sun is shining and the wind is blowing so the odors don’t hang around. However Saturday morning the emissions mixed with the dense fog to create smog. Some descriptions of the odors were bitter, sour, and acrid. Others couldn’t smell anything. I couldn’t either, but that’s how I always react when I’m exposed to toxins. My sense of smell goes away. Instead I tasted that familiar sour metallic taste in my mouth. During the first half hour of the tour my eyes were itchy, watery, and burn-y. Within an hour my ears ached and my throat hurt. I started coughing. My head ached. All the same symptoms I have experienced in Silt. I felt right at home.

Frank told a funny story about the trucks. In 2004, when Exxon first began drilling for natural gas east of Battlement Mesa, the local residents where stunned and angered by the sudden appearance of lights 24/7, the noise, the odors, and the truck traffic. To try and boost public relations, the company put out a standing order to all truck drivers to wave at the locals. So everyone on the bus waved at all the truck drivers.

As we begin our photo tour, be sure to wave at the truck driver!

The gas patch between Rulison and Parachute. Notice the WPX wastewater treatment facility in the far left background.

WPX wastewater treatment ponds

Gas rig on a ranch on Morrisania Mesa

Tank farm on CR 320

A tank farm is an area holding “produced water” or hazardous liquids from oil & gas drilling.

CR 215 north of Parachute is known as the “Road to Nowhere.” It actually leads to the Parachute Creek valley which was once prime agricultural land and is now home to heavy industry: American Soda, WPX headquarters, Blac Frac, a natural gas processing plant, and compressor station.

Setbacks proposal previewed at WCC Annual Meeting

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