GarCo asks state to delay Antero drill plan

Garfield County commissioners want the state to hold off on allowing three new Antero Resources oil and gas well pads near Battlement Mesa pending completion of a study on the possible health impacts of proposed drilling within the community.

Commissioners on Monday also decided to ask the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to move its January meeting to the county. The state panel is scheduled to consider then whether to approve Antero’s request for a density of one directionally drilled well per 10 acres on part of Silt Mesa.

In the case of Battlement Mesa, Antero wants to drill up to 200 wells within the unincorporated community. The county is awaiting the finalization of a study designed to determine the possible health impacts of the drilling and ways they might be minimized.

Meanwhile, Antero plans to drill about 50 more wells from three pads around Battlement Mesa’s periphery. Members of the group Battlement Concerned Citizens contend Antero is trying to circumvent the health study process.

Two of the pads are southwest of the community, meaning prevailing winds would send air pollution in the direction of homes, said resident Ron Galterio.

Garfield commissioners agreed to seek commission hearings if oil and gas commission staff approve the pads, and to ask that the completion of the health study be awaited so its findings can be taken into consideration.

Local Antero operations manager Jon Black said other companies also have well pads near Battlement Mesa. He also said drilling permits are good for two years, “so it doesn’t necessarily mean we’re going to operate the very next day.”


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