Battlement Mesa draft looks at drilling impacts

The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado

DENVER – A draft assessment of potential health impacts of natural gas drilling in Battlement Mesa in western Colorado says residents would most likely be affected by chemical exposures through air emissions, accidents, and increased noise and traffic.

The Colorado School of Public Health at the University of Colorado Denver released the draft Tuesday, updating one released in September. The school plans to release a final version April 30.

Garfield County commissioners requested the report last year after residents voiced concerns about drilling. Antero Resources has proposed drilling up to 200 wells within Battlement Mesa, where about 5,000 people live.

The draft said Battlement Mesa’s primary water supply should be fine, but efforts are needed to monitor and protect the community’s secondary drinking water supply.

It said drilling would provide jobs for some residents and boost economic activity for health clinics and local businesses, but property values may decline along with outdoor amenities and recreation.

It also listed more than 70 recommendations, including routing industrial traffic off residential roads and using the best available technology to decrease air emissions, to reduce negative impacts of drilling.

An Antero representative did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment Tuesday.

Separately county commissioners have asked the Colorado School of Public Health to conduct a long-term health and monitoring study of health effects of the natural gas industry.

New draft report: