Not breathing easy in Battlement Mesa

For some time, residents of Battlement Mesa have argued that natural gas drilling in their Garfield County community would have a deleterious effect, not just on their property values and views, but on their health.

Now they have an academic study to support that claim.

A health assessment conducted for Garfield County by the Colorado School of Public Health at the University of Colorado Denver concluded that air quality could seriously deteriorate for the community of 5,000 people if Antero Resources proceeds with plans to drill 200 wells on nine well pads over five years. The air-quality problems would come from truck traffic, well-pad construction and well completion, the report said.

The assessment also called on Antero to “rapidly adapt new technology” to reduce emissions and potential air-quality problems.

It should be stressed that Antero’s development plans still require multiple approvals, and time remains for both Garfield County and state regulators to work with the company on ways to alleviate potential problems.

That’s why Garfield County commissioned the health assessment, and why it has scheduled a public meeting for Oct. 4 and a public-comment period through Oct. 20 to discuss the findings in the draft assessment.

It should also be noted that Antero has supplied data to the county that was used in the assessment. And the industry is supportive of the approach Garfield County has taken so far to assess potential health issues.

We hope the assessment and the collaborative approach between government and industry will result in measures to alleviate potential air-quality problems while allowing Antero to extract a valuable natural resource from beneath Battlement Mesa.


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