Ursa Resources officials played to a packed house at the Battlement Mesa community meeting on Thursday evening. A plan for relocation of a proposed injection well had been floating around and residents were anxious to hear the details about the proposed alternative site.
Facing public and governmental opposition, Battlement Mesa Company and Olson Associates withdrew their application to create an injection well zone within the community at the Garfield County Planning Commission meeting Wednesday evening. The zoning change would benefit Ursa’s current and future drilling operations in and around the Battlement Mesa community.
As a follow-up to the continuance granted by the planning commission, Ursa Resources Operations Superintendent Matt Honeycutt told the crowd that the revised plan would move the injection well site from the proposed BMC B Pad to the new proposed BMC A Pad [see map below]. In the original proposal, locating the injection well on the B Pad would have put it within 600 feet of the Colorado River and the Battlement Mesa Metro District public water supply intake, which had raised objections from the CDPHE and the Garfield County Development staff.
Honeycutt said the move from the B Pad to the A Pad would eliminate concerns about contamination of the water supply and runoff leaching into the Colorado River. The new proposal would scale down the size of the B Pad by 50 percent and reduce the acreage involved in rezoning from 37 acres to about 22 acres.
Ursa’s vice president of business development Don Simpson said the proposed A pad would place the injection well downstream from the water intake and 2,000 feet from the river. He warned that the location change will result in additional truck traffic for up to a year or more while the company awaits approval and completes construction of the new pad. Ursa contends that the reason they want another injection well is to reduce truck traffic.
“We think this is a big win for everybody except for the people that don’t want you in (Battlement Mesa) regardless of what you do,” Simpson said.
According to Dave Devanney of Battlement Concerned Citizens, Ursa officials also stated that if the new proposed injection well site on the A pad is approved they will not develop the proposed M Pad, which would be located next to the 6th green on the golf course. With the M Pad gone, they would move the proposed L Pad, which is close to the golf course driving rage, farther from homes and increase the size to allow for 33 wells.
In other words, if residents don’t protest the new improved injection well zone, then Ursa might take away the most offensive M Pad in the middle of the golf course. No one really knows if they’ll keep their word or change their mind along the way because in the end the operators always do what they damn well please no matter what.
Conversely if the residents oppose the new improved injection well zone, then they get an extra well pad on the golf course and trucks, trucks, and more trucks.
In stark recognition of the Hobson’s choice in front of the Battlement folks, Devanney said, “As somebody said recently, ‘name your poison.’ Do you want truck traffic? Or do you want injection wells? The citizens of Battlement Mesa don’t want either.”
But there is one giant overriding question in this whole mess. Why does Ursa need another injection well?
Another? You ask.
Remember when I told you one injection well is never enough? Well, Ursa has 4 injection wells at 4 separate well pads surrounding Battlement Mesa.
Bob Arrington, P.E. and Battlement resident, wrote in an email to From the Styx: “They have the Tompkins pad, Monument Ridge pad, Watson Ranch, and Speakman currently with injection wells and claim they need one more. They also revealed publicly that Speakman has only been used to one percent capacity. If they really need another, why send it down the hill to A Pad? Why not inject up by their water storage where they prepare and hold their reusable and used produced water? That location is closer to midway between the basement faults and would pose a lesser risk of earthquakes than down almost over the North fault where the A Pad would be located. Their ‘alternative facts’ are unraveling methinks.”
And not only that, Terra Energy (formerly WPX) and Walnut Private Equity Partners (formerly Williams) both own and operate produced water recycling plants in Garfield County, just down the road a few miles from Battlement Mesa, where Ursa can unload their produced water for free.
For the Battlement folks, is this really a choice between an injection well in town or increased truck traffic?
Or is it just Ursa doin’ its business here?
Ursa’s current drilling operations are occurring outside the PUD boundaries, and have not yet begun inside the community. However construction on the B Pad is scheduled to begin on February 21, with up to 14 wells planned for the site.
Click here to view Ursa’s Battlement Mesa Community Meeting slide presentation and update of current and future drilling activity.
Post Independent: Ursa to relocate injection well
Daily Sentinel: Ursa hopes to drop well pad from its plans
Editor’s note: Under strict doctor’s orders Peggy Tibbetts (aka From the Styx) is forbidden to attend meetings in Battlement Mesa due to the high risk of exposure to toxic drilling chemicals. Peggy’s blood tests and DNA analysis have revealed an extreme sensitivity to chemicals associated with drilling activities and therefore present in emissions. Peggy has often teased that she ought to attend a community meeting in Battlement Mesa so that government and industry officials can see what a severe reaction to toxic chemicals looks like (as in pretty gross). But her doctor doesn’t think that’s funny.