Threat of drilling grows for Battlement Mesa

by Emily Hornback, WCC Organizer

The latest chapter of Battlement Mesa’s ten-year campaign to keep drilling out of the community is about to begin, as Ursa Resources prepares to apply for permits from Garfield County and the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission this summer.

Ursa, which acquired the mineral estate under Battlement Mesa from Antero Resources in 2012, announced plans to start drilling within the unincorporated retirement community last October. At an initial community meeting, about 100 residents vocally objected to drilling within their borders and raised concerns about Ursa’s plans.

Although the company has held subsequent meetings to update residents, many questions remain. What is known is that Ursa plans to construct two well pads within the PUD (Planned Unit Development) boundaries, one of them near the Colorado River where Battlement Mesa’s water supply intake is located.

However, this is only in the first phase of development, and the prospect of additional drilling worries residents. Ursa has a draft surface use agreement with Battlement Mesa Company, the community’s developer, that outlines 10 possible drilling locations. The final details of the agreement are still being negotiated as of this writing. Ursa is already drilling outside of Battlement Mesa’s boundaries.

Battlement Concerned Citizens (BCC), a committee of WCC member group Grand Valley Citizens Alliance (GVCA), is on the front lines of this battle. Last fall BCC submitted a statement to Ursa requesting that it submit to the county a comprehensive plan covering the whole Battlement Mesa project; defer development inside the PUD until the Task Force had made its recommendations; relocate the drilling pad near the Colorado River and another one on the golf course; and employ the best technology available in its projects.

BCC and GVCA stand ready to engage Ursa, Garfield County and the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission at every stage of this process to protect their community.

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