Four hundred sign petition for health study on drilling

GLENWOOD SPRINGS — More than 400 people have signed a petition calling for an independent health study before oil and gas drilling in the Battlement Mesa community is approved.

Garfield County commissioners on Monday agreed to look into the request after residents said it was warranted because of the high number of retirees living in the unincorporated development near Parachute.

Antero Resources plans to drill up to 200 wells from 10 pads within Battlement Mesa.

Resident Susan Smith noted that a past health study in the county identified an increased risk to older populations from drilling.

“More information is needed to evaluate threats to human health,” Smith said.

Fellow resident Paul Light said the previous study made recommendations for further research, and he wants to bring them to the attention of county commissioners.

Commissioners decided to refer the request to county health staff to get their input.

“They (commissioners) agreed to look at it in more detail, so I think that’s a positive,” Smith said in an interview.

Exxon built Battlement Mesa to house oil shale workers, but after Exxon’s pullout in the early 1980s, it was marketed heavily to retirees. Smith said at least half of the 3,500 or so residents are seniors.

But she said a health study also could have value to nearby Parachute, which has a large number of younger families.


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