GarCo BOCC approves more drilling in Battlement Mesa

Updated 11/17/17 11:50 p.m.

After two public hearings, one on Tuesday and then again on Thursday, the Garfield County commissioners approved Ursa’s second phase including the construction of a new A pad with 24 natural gas wells and a wastewater injection well less than 500 feet from some homes. This fracking wastewater injection well will be closer to homes than anywhere in Colorado.

KDNKUrsa Gets County Nod for 55 Natural Gas Wells and Injection Well Inside Battlement Mesa

Daily SentinelBattlement Mesa 
phase 2 drilling
 gets GarCo’s nod

… “I think you’ve done an admirable job in phase one. I would ask that you do even better in phase two. I think that you can,” Commissioner Mike Samson told company officials before joining fellow commissioners in unanimously approving the additional work.

Ursa currently is developing wells on two pads in the unincorporated community of several thousand residents. Garfield commissioners today approved drilling a total of 55 more gas wells from two more pads, along with pipelines, the injection well and a temporary water storage facility.

The project also is subject to review by Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission staff. It came under county review as well because oil and gas development requires a special use permit under the zoning approved decades ago for the Battlement Mesa development.

Commissioners approved Ursa’s second phase despite entreaties from a number of residents who addressed the commissioners Tuesday and this morning. Dave Devanney, chair of the group Battlement Concerned Citizens, told commissioners of a convoy of Halliburton trucks that he said passed by his window just this morning, apparently after inadvertently taking a wrong turn and having to turn around.

“This is not the kind of thing that residents from Battlement Mesa and Colorado expect to see in their residential community,” he said, but he added that it’s the kind of thing “that happens when you live in the gas patch.”

Much of the concern for project opponents focused on the injection well. They worry that it could leak, contaminating the community’s water intake or the Colorado River, which would be a little over 1,000 feet away. They also worry about the potential of the well inducing earthquakes.

But Commissioner Tom Jankovsky said he feels the earthquake concerns have been adequately addressed, and the injection well will be in a safer location than where Ursa previously had proposed it, in a spot closer to the water intake. He also noted that the injection well would eliminate truck trips that otherwise would be needed to transport wastewater for disposal elsewhere.

“I just think it’s in the best interest of the community that we allow this injection well,” he said …

Read Bob Arrington’s presentation: A Very Bad Place to Try an Experiment? Ursa Pad “A” and Injection Well

KDNK Battlement Mesa Resident Fighting Ursa Resources at 90

Post Independent: Garfield County commissioners approve of injection well in residential area

Grand Valley Citizens Alliance President Leslie Robinson was not satisfied saying:

“Garfield County citizens should be concerned about how the county commissioners arbitrarily follow their own county regulations and comprehensive plan depending on who you are — obviously oil and gas will always get what they what from these three commissioners despite pleas from their constituents.”

Ursa’s proposal must also be approved by the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC). Last month the commission rejected Ursa’s proposal, which is undergoing a concurrent review process, because the company failed to comply with state notification rules, which requires them to notify all residents in the Tamarisk Mobile Home Village. Ursa is currently in the process if refiling their application.

These two FLIR videos were filmed at two existing Ursa well pads in Battlement Mesa on May 5, 2017.

Ursa B&V Lease, Battlement Mesa, CO
Filmed 5/5/2017
Ursa Operating B&V Lease Battlement Mesa, Garfield County, CO (39.450817, -108.048717)

This well pad is located between I-70 and the Colorado River. In this video you see a drilling rig surrounded by a sound wall. Notice the volume of emissions during drilling operations.

Ursa BMC Lease, Battlement Mesa, CO
Filmed 5/5/17
Ursa Operating BMC Lease Battlement Mesa, Garfield County, CO

This well pad is located on the south side of the Colorado River close to dozens of homes. Again in this video you see a drilling rig surrounded by a sound wall. Notice the volume of emissions during drilling operations.

All videos were filmed by a certified thermographer with an industry standard optical gas imaging camera, the FLIR GasFinder 320. The $100,000 camera is specially calibrated to detect methane and other VOCs, and is used by industry and regulators for that purpose.

Click here for more videos in the Garfield County FLIR tour.
Click here for more infrared videos in the Colorado Community Empowerment Project.
Click here for more info on the Community Empowerment Project and the FLIR GF320 optical gas imaging camera.

Independent laboratory (third party) testing confirms that the FLIR Gasfinder Model GF 320 camera can see the following gases at the minimum detected leak rate (MDLR):

1-Pentene – 5.6g/hr
Benzene – 3.5g/hr
Butane -0.4g/hr
Ethane – 0.6g/hr
Ethanol – 0.7g/hr
Ethylbenzene – 1.5g/hr
Ethylene – 4.4g/hr
Heptane – 1.8g/hr
Hexane – 1.7g/hr
Isoprene – 8.1g/hr
MEK – 3.5g/hr
Methane – 0.8g/hr
Methanol – 3.8g/hr
MIBK – 2.1g/hr
Octane – 1.2g/hr
Pentane – 3.0g/hr
Propane – 0.4g/hr
Propylene – 2.9g/hr
SF6 (Sulfur Hexaflouride) – 0.026g/hr
Toluene – 3.8g/hr
Xylene – 1.9g/hr

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