Aug. 31 meeting on Battlement Mesa drilling plans

by Emily Hornback, WCC organizer

After more than two years of meetings and negotiations, Ursa Resources has initiated the permitting process to drill 53 wells within the community of Battlement Mesa.

In June, Ursa submitted a preliminary land-use application to Garfield County to drill 53 wells on two pads and to construct an associated pipeline system in the southwestern quadrant of the community. The Planning and Zoning Commission will consider the application at its Sept. 23 meeting in Glenwood Springs.

To prepare for the public process, WCC is working with Battlement Mesa residents to host a community meeting on August 31.

Drilling pad and sound wall next to a home in Battlement Mesa. This pad is actually outside the official community boundary, but Ursa is now proposing to drill directly inside the community.

“This is the moment we have been anticipating for many years,” said Dave Devanney of Battlement Concerned Citizens (BCC). “We know this is just the beginning of the process with more documents to come. But now is the time for Battlement Mesa residents to join with us to make our concerns known and do what we can to limit the potential harm from this proposal.”

He went on to say, “We hope that other stakeholders and decision makers are prepared to review this document with the well being of Battlement Mesa residents foremost in their minds.  No application should be accepted that does not adequately protect the health, environment and quality of life of our community.”

This application is the start of “Phase One” in a comprehensive drilling plan. The entire four-phase proposal envisions drilling 94 wells on five pads within Battlement Mesa itself (and more pads just outside its boundaries), with residents facing decades of impacts. Numerous pipelines and injection wells will also be built to move the gas and dispose of wastewater.

B & D pads_map

Map of the two well pads in “Phase 1” of Ursa’s proposal to develop minerals under Battlement Mesa. The closest residence is 579 feet from one of the pads.

Ursa has been hosting a series of community meetings to try to address concerns about the development of a large-scale industrial facility in the retirement community. Residents remain unhappy with the proposal, however, and are not convinced that Ursa is justified in drilling inside Battlement Mesa’s boundaries.

BCC’s specific concerns range from health and safety issues to loss of quality of life. Particularly worrisome is the proximity of one of the pads to the community’s water intake on the Colorado River; the pad is also less than 600 feet from the nearest house. Noise is also an issue, as the permit states that Ursa will be held to industrial noise standards even though the development is occurring within a residentially zoned area.

These and other concerns about community consultation, traffic, emergency response, and air quality monitoring will be at the heart of BCC’s comments on this application.

Join us on August 31  at the Grand Valley Fire Station to learn more! Refreshments will be served at 6 pm and the meeting starts at 6:30. Carpooling is encouraged, as parking is limited.

Comments are closed.