WCC Press Release
Garfield County Planning Staff Recommend Denial of “Injection Well Zone” in Battlement Mesa
Glenwood Springs—Battlement Mesa residents had something to celebrate this weekend as they cheered the release of a Garfield County staff report that recommends the denial of a proposed zoning change to allow injection wells inside the community.
“This is welcome news,” said Dave Devanney, co-chair of the Battlement Concerned Citizens, who have been fighting the zoning change. “If this amendment is approved, it will open the gates for Ursa Resources to place an injection well of toxic wastewater in close proximity of our community’s drinking water supply. That would put our community at unnecessary risk for decades.”
“The Garfield County Commissioners are the only ones that can deny this proposal, but we thank the Garfield County staff for recognizing this risk and recommending a decision that will safeguard the health and safety of residents,” he concluded.
The report was released late last week by the Garfield County Community Development Department staff after reviewing the application from Battlement Mesa Partners, comments from the Colorado Department of Health and the Environment, and the public. Upon review, the report finds the request to amend the Battlement Mesa PUD “is not in the best interest of the health, safety, convenience, order, prosperity and welfare of the citizens of Garfield County.”
“We completely agree with the staff’s findings,” said Leslie Robinson, chair of the Grand Valley Citizen’s Alliance. “This proposal puts thousands of people at risk for the sole benefit of Ursa Resources. This is not only immoral, but against Garfield County code and the covenants of the community. We call on the Garfield County Commissioners to follow the advice of the state health department, the residents of Battlement Mesa, and their own planning staff and deny this application.”
The report is only one step in the decision making process however. The report was compiled for the benefit of the Garfield County Planning Commission which will vote on the issue at their meeting on Wednesday, Feb 8 at 6pm. The issue will then go before the Board of County Commissioners for a final decision.
The same day the staff report was released, Ursa Resources sent a memo to the Garfield County Commissioners detailing that they have submitted the paperwork to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to develop three new pads within the community. The “M,” “L,” and “A” pads would be located in residential areas that are subject to new rules governing “neighborhood drilling” by the COGCC last year.
“It’s clear that residents will have to be on guard for years,” said Devanney. “We now live in an industrial zone and every year brings new projects that residents must respond to and monitor. One thing is for sure, this is not what we had in mind when we retired here.”