Garfield intervenes on Antero Silt Mesa drilling

Garfield County commissioners will ask the state to consider the cumulative impacts to residents of a proposal to allow one natural gas well for every 10 acres north of Silt.

The commissioners voted 2-1 today to intervene with the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission on an application by Antero Resources for 10-acre drilling density for a square-mile section of Silt Mesa.

The decision followed several hours of public comment in which many residents raised fears about health and other impacts since Antero has begun to drill on Silt Mesa. Other residents expressed support for the company and for natural gas development as a source of jobs, energy and tax revenues.

The state commission will consider Antero’s well density proposal Nov. 29. The proposal involves underground well densities that Antero would achieve using directional drilling from one well pad on 120 acres or more.

The commission traditionally evaluates such proposals on technical grounds, and considers health, environmental and other impacts during permitting of pads and individual wells. But Garfield County’s oil and gas liaison, Judy Jordan, says the public has no ability at that stage to raise concerns about cumulative health, environmental and other impacts of drilling.

County Commissioner Tresi Houpt said it’s important to consider concerns such as truck traffic and potential air and water quality impacts at the well density review stage.

“I think that we heard today many compelling concerns about the type of activity that is planned to move into Silt Mesa,” she said.


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