by Leslie Robinson, President of Grand Valley Citizen’s Alliance
Printed in the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel Sunday, August 9th.
Members of Grand Valley Citizens Alliance, the Battlement Concerned Citizens and Western Colorado Congress believe that a recent letter from a Piceance Creek Action Council agent misrepresented a recent public meeting with Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission officials.
A person is entitled to their personal opinions, but to set the record straight, our very public conversation with the COGCC was about managing impacts from large-scaled multi-well development near homes, schools, and public areas, specifically in Battlement Mesa. How is wanting to protecting one’s health, property and quality of life “radical?” we ask.
We also want to correct a mischaracterization about our members. People involved with our organizations reflect the general attitudes of most Coloradans. In fact, the 2015 “State of the Rockies” poll by Colorado College found that 63 percent of Coloradans live here because of the clean air, water, and environment. Our organizations’ collective purpose is to protect that kind of quality of life in Western Colorado.
In our public conversation with the COGCC, using the current proposal to drill within Battlement Mesa neighborhoods as an example, we supported giving the COGCC director “more tools” in determining the criteria of siting multi-well oil and gas development in residential neighborhoods.
We also advocated for increased air and water quality mitigation when drilling and fracking in a residential area. In addition, we thought impacted landowners should have an equal voice before the COGCC. Most importantly, since multi-well production activities can continue for years, requiring a five-year comprehensive drilling plan within residential communities makes sense. We echoed our support of this action presented earlier by local government representatives at their meeting with COGCC.
Oil and gas operators, spokespersons, supporters and organizations have had several audiences with the COGCC during this scoping process on the Task Force recommendations, including a local meeting with Western Slope COGA in Rifle. Opposite of Ms. Couey’s criticism, we want to thank COGCC Director Matt Lepore and other state officials for being engaged with all stakeholders affected by oil and gas development and listening to our input.