At the behest of Ursa Resources, Battlement Mesa Partners submitted an application to the Garfield County planning commission to approve a zoning change in Battlement Mesa’s founding PUD document to allow for oil and gas wastewater injection wells within the community. Ursa plans to locate the first injection well on the B pad less than 300 feet from the Colorado River and immediately upstream from Battlement Mesa’s water intake.
Today the Garfield County Community Development staff finished their review of the proposal for a zoning change and recommended to the Planning Commission that the application be denied.
Click here to read the staff report.
Here are the highlights [emphasis added]:
VI STAFF RECOMMENDATION AND SUGGESTED FINDINGS
Staff recommends that the Planning Commission forward to the Board of County Commissioners a recommendation for denial of the request for an Amendment to the Battlement Mesa PUD Guide- District Regulations and a PUD Rezoning request based upon the following findings as further documented in the Staff Analysis and Staff Report.
- That proper public notice was provided as required for the hearing before the Planning Commission.
- That the hearing before the Planning Commission was extensive and complete, that all pertinent facts, matters and issues were submitted or could be submitted and that all interested parties were heard at the meeting.
- That for the above stated and other reasons the request to Amend the Battlement Mesa PUD Guide- District Regulations and Amend the PUD Zone District Map is not in the best interest of the health, safety, convenience, order, prosperity, and welfare of the citizens of Garfield County.
- Based on the proximity of the proposed rezoning to the Battlement Mesa Metro District public water system intake, the proposal contains incompatible elements for the PUD that affect in an adverse manner the public interest as further set forth below, and therefore the Application has not met the requirements of the Garfield County Zoning Resolution of 1978 in accordance with the Battlement Mesa PUD approval Resolution No. 82-121 and the provisions set forth therein.
- a. Section 4.02 (2) The proposed location is not well located and safe as reflected in referral comments from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) identifying risks to the Battlement Mesa Metro District public water supply intake.
- b. Section 4.04 The proposal does not reflect general conformance with the County’s Comprehensive Plan due to the risk to a public water supply and water quality.
- c. Section 4.06 The proposed text amendment and rezoning contains incompatible elements due to the proximity to and risk to the Battlement Mesa Metro District public water supply intake.
- d. 4.07.03 (1) Based on referral comments including from the CDPHE, the proposal will have unreasonable adverse effect on the surrounding area including the safety of the Battlement Mesa Metro District public water supply intake.
- e. 4.12.03 (2) The proposal will affect in a substantially adverse manner the public interest by creating a risk to the Battlement Mesa Metro District public water supply intake.
5. That the Application is not in general conformance with the Garfield County Comprehensive Plan.
News of the staff’s recommendation comes after a tense week for Battlement residents. Ursa put forward a last-minute proposal saying that with the completion of the pipeline and the injection well at the B pad, that would eliminate the need for the proposed M pad, which would be located next to the 6th hole on the golf course. The implication being that if the residents would stop protesting the zoning change and proposed injection well Ursa might reward them by saving the golf course — no promises though. At a hastily organized community meeting on Thursday, residents maintained their opposition to the zoning change that would allow the injection well.
Battlement residents are putting their faith in the January 12th letter from the Colorado Department of Health and Environment (CDPHE) to planning commissioner Glenn Hartman which restated the department’s opposition to Ursa’s plans for an injection well in Battlement Mesa on the Colorado River. They hope the Garfield County Community Development commissioners will heed the state health department recommendation.
Today’s recommendation for denial by the staff further strengthens their position. But it’s not over yet.
GVCA chair Leslie Robinson said in an email: “From GVCA’s perspective, the big battles still lie ahead with the planning commission members and the county commissioners, all who have their own personal agendas when it comes to oil and gas development.”
Stand with Battlement Mesa residents.
Attend the Planning Commission meeting and ask them to deny this permit.
February 8, 2017
Garfield County Community Development Dept
108 8th Street, Suite 401
Glenwood Springs, CO
Daily Sentinel: Ursa seeks more wells near town
Post Independent: County staff urges rejecting Battlement Mesa injection well
Click here to view the rezoning application and exhibits