CALL TO ACTION!
Are you disgusted with the outcome of the task force recommendations? Are you frustrated with the COGCC placing the oil & gas industry’s bottom line above public health, welfare, and safety? Make your voices heard!
The comment period is still open for the public to comment on Ursa’s permit applications to drill 53 wells from 2 well pads plus build a 2.5-mile pipeline inside the Battlement Mesa PUD. But the deadline is fast-approaching on February 16. That means the COGCC must receive your comments before February 16.
Let’s use this as a statewide opportunity to tell the COGCC how we feel about drilling and fracking in residential neighborhoods and communities. It doesn’t matter where you live, anyone can comment. By doing so we not only help our friends and neighbors in Battlement Mesa but we can all send a strong message to the COGCC against residential drilling and fracking.
There are three ways you can comment to the COGCC on these permits:
- Use the COGCC website to comment via Microsoft Silverlight. This requires you to download a Microsoft program onto your computer so you can use COGCC’s “e-form” comment sheet. Learn how to do this here.
- Email your comments to Western Colorado Congress and they will upload them into the “e-form” for you.
Send comments to: email@example.com
- Physically mail comments (must be postmarked BEFORE February 16):
Jane Stancyzyk, Permitting Manager
Colorado Oil and Gas Commission
1120 Lincoln St., Suite 801
Denver, CO 80213
Tell the COGCC that drilling and fracking do not belong in Battlement Mesa or any residential neighborhoods and communities!
In December, after a laborious series of hearings before the Garfield County planning commission and the BOCC, Ursa’s three special use permits to drill 53 wells on 2 pads plus 2.5 miles of pipeline inside the Battlement Mesa PUD were approved. However each permit included several conditions of approval (COAs) which are available to the public and accessible here:
In a letter to the Garfield County Commissioners, COGCC Director Matt Lepore outlined some of those COAs that may be adopted because they are included under the state’s best management practices (BMP), and others that fall outside the agency’s jurisdiction. Click here to read Lepore’s letter.
Click here to view Kirby Wynn’s (oil & gas liaison) presentation to the BOCC on Monday, February 8.
Basically Kirby Wynn said the COGCC is open to adopting many of the COAs and a letter from the BOCC urging them to do so would strengthen the county’s position.
You can view the comments submitted by Kirby Wynn on behalf of the Garfield County Commissioners here:
The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission appears poised to consider including some conditions reached by Garfield County and Ursa Resources as best management practices during the state permitting process for planned operations in Battlement Mesa.
COGCC’s incorporation of the conditions of approval, which were reached during three days of public hearings in December, would add further weight to those requirements.
A letter from COGCC Director Matt Lepore clarified that many of the conditions were either outside the scope of what the state’s oil and gas regulatory agency oversees or they were items that COGCC already regulates — making them redundant to include as best management practices.
For example, one condition requires that the county be able to request a site inspection with reasonable notice. That condition is outside COGCC’s jurisdiction and therefore could not be included as a best management practice, Lepore noted in his letter.
Other conditions, however, do fall within COGCC’s jurisdiction and could be included as best management practices in the state’s permit.
One subsection of a condition requiring that Ursa have water trucks on site during extraction and processing phases could be included since dust is within the purview of COGCC. The same goes for conditions pertaining to sound, hours of operation and others.
In some instances, such as lighting, the conditions reached in the county’s permitting process go beyond COGCC standards. However, that would not prevent the state from potentially including them as best management practices, Lepore stated.
The county cannot force the state to adopt any of the conditions determined during the local permitting process, Kirby Wynn, Garfield County oil and gas liaison, said on Monday. It can submit a letter, though, asking COGCC to consider adopting those conditions as part of the state permit.
The conditions still apply — meaning the county is responsible for enforcement and Ursa is responsible for complying with them — regardless of whether or not COGCC includes them during the state permitting. But, as Wynn told commissioners Monday, having the state sign on “adds weight.”
In some instances, Lepore wrote that conditions were too vague to include with state permits. Among those was a subcondition addressing heat, glare, radiation and fumes.
“Every use shall be so operated that it does not emit heat, glare, radiation or fumes which substantially interfere with the existing use of the adjoining property or which constitutes a public nuisance or hazard,” the county’s condition reads.
Leslie Robinson, president of the Grand Valley Citizens Alliance, one of the organizations that lobbied the commissioners to reject the applications, asked if additional information could be submitted for those conditions Lepore said were too vague.
Although Lepore did not go into great detail in his letter, some of those conditions cited as too vague came from the county’s land use code, Fred Jarman, Garfield County community development director, explained Monday. Since enforcement still falls on the county, conditions need to be aligned with the county’s land use code …
… In addition to the applicable conditions of approval, commissioners also directed Wynn to include language asking COGCC to consider any findings or possible recommendations by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The county previously asked COGCC to consult with the state’s health agency.
COGCC agreed to consult with CDPHE, which, according to Don Simpson, vice president of business development for Ursa, will be conducting a site visit later this week. Simpson added that Ursa has no objections and “nothing to worry about” concerning the CDPHE consultation.
It’s unclear what CDPHE might recommend and the findings likely will not be available in time to include specifically in the county’s comments before the Feb. 16 comment submission deadline, Wynn said. However, the county could ask that COGCC consider the findings, which is ultimately what the commissioners directed Wynn to include in his letter.
Although the comment period for Ursa’s applications is open until Feb. 16, Wynn told commissioners on Monday that he intended on submitting the county’s comments this week.