Antero’s drilling applications alarm Battlement group | AspenTimes.com

Antero’s drilling applications alarm Battlement group

John Colson
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

BATTLEMENT MESA, Colo. – The expectation that Antero Resources plans to drill three new well pads just outside the boundary lines of this community has alarmed some residents.

A request was submitted to Garfield County on Nov. 24 to intervene on behalf of those concerned residents, as Antero’s applications for permits to drill go through the state’s review process.

Ron Galterio, co-chairman of the Battlement Concerned Citizens organization (BCC), recently discovered the three applications for permits to drill on the website of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.

The COGCC, headquartered in Denver, is the state agency that oversees the oil and gas industry in Colorado, and applications, approvals, regulations and other matters are available on its website.

Antero announced more than a year ago that it intends to drill up to 200 wells from nine well pads within the boundaries of the Battlement Mesa planned unit development, which encompasses some 3,400 acres of terrain, less than half of which is developed into housing and related facilities.

In an e-mail alert sent out to BCC members on Nov. 16, Galterio described the proposed new pads as being near the intersection of Stone Quarry Road and Monument Trail. Two others, he wrote, “are located very near Tamarisk Meadows, just west of Stone Quarry Road.”

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He wrote that the three pads are to be the sites for a total of 49 wells.

“Although Antero has no obligation to advise the [Battlement Mesa] community outside of our boundaries, they are certainly not being the good neighbors that they would like us all to believe when they do not advise us of plans like these that will impact our community,” Galterio wrote.

Garfield County’s oil and gas liaison, Judy Jordan, said she had heard of only one of the applications, which she called the Monument Ridge pad.

Galterio, in a series of e-mails sent to other BCC members and to the Post Independent, said that, with the applications, “Antero is attempting to … continue their assault on our community and avoid county intervention.”

The Garfield County Commissioners have taken the first steps to intervene on behalf of residents living in the Silt Mesa/Peach Valley area, where Antero has applied for state approval to significantly increase the density of wells drilled in the area.

Jordan said Tuesday that she had not heard of any plans by commissioners to intervene concerning the latest plans for wells being drilled outside the boundaries of Battlement Mesa.

Galterio, who on Wednesday made a formal request for intervention, said the commissioners had directed Jordan to call the COGCC to learn more about the process for intervening in the applications, and to get an extension in the deadline for official comments about the applications.

But the commissioners took no formal action, and Galterio said Friday that he had heard no more about the matter.

The BCC and the Grand Valley Citizens Alliance, another organization active in oil and gas issues, “are all concerned about the potential impacts that these 49 proposed natural gas wells, in addition to the 200 wells within the development, will have on the health and safety of the residents of Battlement Mesa,” Galterio wrote in another e-mail.

A significant portion of Garfield County residents have long expressed concerns about air pollution and water contamination in connection with the gas industry.

Officials associated with the gas industry have consistently maintained that there is no evidence, after more than 60 years of drilling using modern methods, that those living close to drilling operations have experienced negative effects to air or water quality, or to human health.

jcolson@postindependent.com