COGCC approves “worst drilling application” in state

Ursa’s proposed A Pad in Battlement Mesa was approved by COGCC on January 11.

Last Friday, January 11, the Colorado Supreme Court announced that a decision in the Martinez case would be announced on Monday, January 14. In an odd coincidence, on Friday the COGCC approved Ursa’s controversial BMC A Pad.

The A Pad is part of the second phase of oil and gas development in Battlement Mesa, a community in western Garfield County. This will put 24 natural gas wells, a wastewater injection well, and associated equipment barely 500 feet away from Tamarisk Village, a mobile home neighborhood. Pad A is also less than 500 feet from Battlement Mesa’s wastewater treatment plant and close to the water treatment plant. The pad will be cut into a 90- foot hillside at the base of the mobile home park about 900 feet from the Colorado River.

Battlement Concerned Citizens (BCC) and the Grand Valley Citizens Alliance (GVCA, local citizens groups affiliated with Western Colorado Alliance, are considering what steps to take as a result of this decision.

BCC Chairman Dave Devanney said, “Approving this project, in addition to the 52 wells already in place, will only increase the health risks to the residents of Battlement Mesa and make it a less desirable place to live. The approval of the A Pad makes it clear the regulatory process is not working to protect people and the environment.”

“This is the worst drilling application in the state; it is a huge industrial operation within a thousand feet of dozens of homes and community infrastructure.” Devanney also warned, “The likelihood is too great that an industrial accident could jeopardize the Colorado River, Battlement Mesa’s municipal water plant as well as damage the nearby homes.”

“The local and state government officials who are supposed to protect citizens have let us down,” he added.

Pad A is part of the Ursa Phase 2 development plan that will bring in another 50 plus wells and tanks next to Battlement Mesa homes. There have been numerous complaints about unpleasant and potentially hazardous odors, traffic, and noise, during the first phase of development already underway in the community.

GVCA Chair Leslie Robinson said, “We are going to ask Governor Polis and the new directors at the Department of Natural Resources and the Colorado O&G Conservation Commission to intervene on the worst drilling proposal in the state.”

“If Pad A with an injection well goes forward in Battlement Mesa, this could set a precedent to drill even closer to homes on the Front Range,” she said.

“These two decisions make it clear that the law is just wrong and rigged to support the industry. At this point, it is clear we need an overhaul of the COGCC and the regulatory system of the industry in order to make policy to protect the people,” Robinson concluded.

GVCA members have been involved with setback issues since 1997. Battlement Concerned Citizens was formed when drilling was proposed within the PUD in 2009.

“Unfortunately, folks here in Battlement Mesa have had to deal with oil and gas industrial development less than 1,000 feet from their homes for the past nine years,” Devanney said. “And now more is coming. It is beyond time for a change in Colorado oil and gas law.”

See also –

State OKs well pad near Battlement Mesa homes

State regulators approve well pad near Battlement Mesa homes

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