Cities should amend HRCs to stop oil and gas truck traffic

Guest post by Carl McWilliams

After seeing this photo in the Post Independent newspaper, I emailed a Letter to the Editor and I wanted From the Styx readers to be the first to read it.

Friday afternoon, more than a dozen cyclists pedaled over Grand Avenue and around Glenwood Springs as a form of protest against the possible use of Four Mile Road, Grand Avenue and other local streets as haul routes for oil and gas traffic. [Kelley Cox - Post Independent]

Friday afternoon, more than a dozen cyclists pedaled over Grand Avenue and around Glenwood Springs as a form of protest against the possible use of Four Mile Road, Grand Avenue and other local streets as haul routes for oil and gas traffic. [Kelley Cox – Post Independent]

Now that the oil shale development policies of Garfield County Commissioners Mike Samson, John Martin and Tom Jankovsky have proven to be an “urban myth”; and with the County Commissioners spending $5 million of precious public moneys to improve Four Mile Road; it would be foolish for the citizens of Glenwood Springs and Carbondale to trust that Samson, Martin, and Jankovsky will protect Thompson Divide from natural gas development. Especially considering the amount of campaign contributions Tom Jankovsky has received from energy companies with leases to develop natural gas at Thompson Divide.

Accordingly, I suggest to the citizens of Glenwood Springs and Carbondale that it is time to “push-back” against Samson, Martin, Jankovsky, and the O&G extraction industry by taking aggressive actions forthwith to stop natural gas development of Thompson Divide by implementing the following:

Glenwood Springs and Carbondale are both constitutionally empowered home rule municipalities as memorialized in the Colorado Constitution @ Article XX, Sec. 6, which reads:  “The people of each city or town of this state … are hereby vested with, and they shall always have, power to make, amend, add to or replace the charter of said city or town, which shall be its organic law and extend to all its local and municipal matters. Such charter and the ordinances made pursuant thereto in such matters shall supersede within the territorial limits and other jurisdiction of said city or town any law of the state in conflict therewith.”

Therefore, I suggest that the Mayor and City Councils of Glenwood Springs and Carbondale vote to hold a special election asking the citizens of each home rule municipality: “Shall the Home Rule Charter be amended by adding a new article that will prohibit within the territorial limits any and all vehicle transportation of hydraulic fracturing fluids used in the extraction of oil, gas and other hydrocarbons. And also prohibit within the territorial limits the vehicle transportation of solid and liquid wastes created in connection with the hydraulic fracturing process including, but not limited to, flowback or produced waste water and brine?”

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15 Comments on “Cities should amend HRCs to stop oil and gas truck traffic”

  1. Don Simpson Says:

    Not sure where the information on this site comes from, but frequently, it is incorrect. Ursa, who has leases on the Thompson Divide has donated $0 dollars to Garfield County Commissioners. We do however respect the Commissioners, who make the best decisions for the Garfield County as a whole and for Commissioner Jankovsky, who frequently attends Community meetings in order to stay engaged with its Citizens.

  2. l2k3d5EZ Says:

    The leases Ursa has in the Thompson Divide would most likely be developed from the Silt area, and not through Glenwood Springs or Four Mile road, if they were to be developed. Is that correct?
    Laurie DeMent

  3. Peggy Tibbetts Says:

    Laurie, no one really knows for sure.
    As far as I can tell Silt and Four Mile both are currently being used to access the TD region. There are currently well pads up there on private land. I don’t know how many or exact locations.

  4. Peggy Tibbetts Says:

    Also Laurie, I don’t know which operators are drilling on private land in the TD region. However to my knowledge, Ursa is NOT one of them.

  5. Anita Marie Says:

    Don Simpson,
    Oh please, stop selling ‘crap on a stick’ and calling it ice cream! URSA is no better than, and will be no better than the predecessor, SG Interests, WSCOGA, AGNC, local Chambers of Commerce members, Northwest Colorado Alliance, and a variety of “industry lobbying groups” – mostly Republican and masquerading as economic development non-profits – when it comes to lining the coffers of all Republican Garfield County Commissioners. OF COURSE URSA RESPECTS the industry lobbying commissioners, now that ancillary permits are solely in the hands of the commissioners that removed 1041 regulations from local land use codes without any public review or local environmental and economic impact assessments. You’re comment is a joke! If a lease is on the line, no doubts URSA will be slicking candidate coffers to keep industry profits over people in public policy.

  6. Laurie DeMent Says:

    Thanks, Peggy. I am against both haul routes, as I do not support any drilling in the Thompson Divide. I was just curious.

  7. Peggy Tibbetts Says:


    You say that Ursa has not donated to the campaign coffers of the Commissioners. However Ursa is a member of Western Slope Colorado Oil and Gas Association (WSCOGA) which has used their “membership” dues to help create groups like Northwest Colorado Alliance (NCA) — lobbying groups masquerading as 501(c)(4) non-profits that have been used exclusively as electioneering arms for the Republicans candidates and incumbents.

    In last year’s election the NCA funded a direct mailing campaign on behalf of the Garfield County Commissioners.

  8. Peggy Tibbetts Says:

    Laurie, the haul routes appear to be a done deal.
    Four Mile = $3.3 million

    CR 311 = $5 million

    Our kids go to school only 4 days a week. My 4-yr old grandson is NOT ALLOWED to enroll in preschool at CVE. But the O&G industry gets road repairs they don’t even ask for.

    Life in the Third World …

  9. Don Simpson Says:

    Thank you for your comments. Correct, Ursa would not need to use Four Mile Road. Yes, we are members of WSCOGA, however we are members of several community and industry groups, just as opponents of the Thompson Divide are members of several Opposition and Environmental Groups. Yes, Ursa is different than its predessessor, as we have had and continue to have community outreach, education and keep the communities informed of our activities. Since February, we have been working with the Thompson Divide Coalition in order to sell our leases to them. We have provided a written offer to TDC, the dollar amout of which has been accepted, however they do not have the funding. This means that their offer to buy out Antero’s leases, as well as other operators leases was hallow. We encourage each of you to donate to the Thompson Divide Coalition, so that a mutually acceptable balance can be reached.

  10. Beth Strudley Says:

    Seriously Don? Like Anita said, summer is over, we’re not in the mood for your special crap-flavored-ice-cream.

  11. Carl Mc Williams Says:

    Mr. Matthew B. Steele
    President & CEO
    Ursa Resources Group II, Inc.
    602 Sawyer Street, Suite 710
    Houston, TX 77007
    P: (713) 456-3000
    c/o Mr. Don Simpson

    Dear Mr. Steele:

    Be very cognizant: It is in the best financial interests of DENHAM CAPITAL (URSA’S Private Capital Investor) that URSA plugs and abandons all the wells located in the residential/agriculture areas of Silt Mesa and Peach Valley in Garfield County, Colorado. This would include the natural gas well, (originally drilled by ANTERO RESOURCES) that tortiously polluted the well water of the Bill and Beth Strudley family and caused physical injury and significant monetary damages to Bill and Beth Strudley and their children.

    Once again Mr. Steele: It is in the best financial interests of DENHAM CAPITAL, before URSA conducts any flaring operations that would release VOC’s into our air; that your company plugs and abandons all the wells located in the residential/agriculture areas of Silt Mesa and Peach Valley in Garfield County, Colorado.


    Carl L. McWilliams
    Silt Mesa, Colorado

  12. Bob Arrington Says:

    In the method, and concern for, Mr. McWilliams in these comments, I would tender this letter:

    Mr. Matthew B. Steele
    President & CEO
    Ursa Resources Group II, Inc.
    602 Sawyer Street, Suite 710
    Houston, TX 77007
    P: (713) 456-3000
    via: Mr. Don Simpson

    Dear Mr. Steele:

    For your information and the public record, I have attached a link in this blog to an information paper I wrote on the unique geology of the Silt Mesa/Peach Valley region of Colorado where the Grand Hogback is situated and where Ursa Resources owns and operates natural gas wells acquired from Antero.
    This paper was written to inform the residents what the geologic history and problems were in this unique area. The sources for any conclusions are annotated and I would think it beneficial to consult with your experts to see about risk analysis and review of geology.

    Bob Arrington, PE
    Parachute, CO

  13. Anita Marie Says:

    Don Simpson,
    You’re a funny man. And, your response proves the industry players are very concerned about those of us standing up to the assaults. What’s next putting us on the DHS surveillance as eco-terrorists? Yeah, I’ve got that info, too. I hope you don’t take your “let’s all be buddies” seriously, because I certainly don’t. Any “Save Thompson Divide” initiatives at the legislative level in DC are doing nothing more than horse-trading TD leases. We all know profit isn’t a partisan issue in politics. I’ve played the legislative lobbying game in DC for too long to know the players. Pitkin and Carbondale access areas will be saved from road development, because big donors get first dibs for NIMBY protection. Lease access to your drilling sites will have to be done through Glenwood Springs, New Castle, or Silt — the working stiff blue collar towns. With regards to private land leases, there’s always someone hungry and ready to cash out.

    We all know Tom Jankovsky has had sights on access to Sunlight from I-70 through New Castle or Silt for years. He’s hedging his financial options with the ability to develop the mountain, or sell to the industry. Just another legislative hack hedging his options, masquerading as a public representative. Mike Samson, chair of FMLD and AGNC, and Martin had job offers to lobby for the industry in the event that they lost the commissioners race. The public saw the “industry attacks” on Glenwood Springs municipal candidates this past Spring, and the same attacks in the recent Rifle races. The local Chambers and WSCOGA, both 5016s, are quite cozy aren’t they? I get a kick out of that 501c3 called Community Counts Colorado. All industry related board members, serving the industry, masquerading as a “community non-profit” — very US of ALEC. Transparency isn’t the industry’s friend. The more the public knows, the less enamored they are with the industry.

    The dismal bill Sen. Bennet put forward regarding “no new leases in the Thompson Divide” doesn’t dismiss the suspended leases. The legally questionable leases given in 2003, that should have expired last spring. Department of Interior, Ken Salazar, is now working for an oil and gas industry lobbying firm. Of course you’re encouraging all of our working and cash strapped families to give their time, talent, and treasure toward efforts that are about as significant as a piss hole in the snow. You know very well, it keeps the public’s attention off of how they’re really being screwed by unregulated industry development. But hey, the “let’s be friends” marketing face, makes you look good publicly, right?

    So Don, show me your true colors. Why don’t you give me a call, and we’ll start an “alert the corridors” campaign together? WSCOGA has all my info. What do you say? If you really believe the public should continue to preserve what they love, and Ursa believes in being a good neighbor, lets work together and alert every single property owner on every potential road development corridor in Garfield, Mesa, Pitkin, Delta, and Gunnison of Ursa’s intentions in the Thompson Divide. Certainly, the good neighbor face — Ursa wants us to believe — would warrant the paltry expense of alerting your new neighbors of your real intentions. Show me how neighborly Ursa wants to be by providing every property owner, and municipal resident in every county that will be affected, with real information about the potential impacts to health, safety, land, outdoor recreation/tourism reliant economies, and wildlife habitats. Try transparency instead of the “sneak in the back door” corporate cowards the industry has a reputation for being.

    I’m calling your bluff, Don. You and your ilk are nothing more than highly paid professional predators. You know the kind. The nice smiling neighbor by day, predator ready to rape us of our rights by night, whispering “reassurances” in their captive’s ear, “Struggle and it will be worse.” And my favorite, “Don’t worry we’re doing this for a better community.”

    URSA and other interests are about as welcome as the plague beyond Parachute and Rifle. The industry has enough development in our area, and doesn’t need the Thompson Divide. Taxpayers are tired of subsidizing globally developed industries that pillage, pollute, and poison the public for private profits. The industry is built on speculation, not unlike the great global “mortgage scam.” Every activity that impacts my rights to life without industrial imposed toxins, the liberties to have untouched land — as God created — and my property values are all being compromised. Please save the “let’s all be buddies” nonsense. You get a good sized paycheck to protect industrial interests in our area. The rest of us are paying the price for an industry that should have been buried, like the fossils being extracted, decades ago. I won’t hold my breath for your call.

  14. Beth Strudley Says:

    Whoa! That was one hell-uv-a bitch-slap Don! Does your cheek hurt? Hope so.

  15. Anita Marie Says:

    And for the record, the difference between your industry “associations” and the “opposition associations” is this: The opposition doesn’t have industry frackaholic lobbyists writing public policy, that allows the industry to transfer mitigation and production costs onto the taxpayers. Oh snap! Again, save the frackaholic one way ratchet reasoning. But hey, keep bringing on the BS, it certainly opens up all those discussions our community needs to have!

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