It’s not Houston, but it seems close. If you pick up a daily newspaper in Grand Junction or Glenwood Springs on almost any day of the week, you will find an article concerning oil and gas. The past week was no exception. Tuesday, August 15-A couple of elected officials from Grand Junction and Palisade got a bird’s eye view of oil and gas drilling south of Rifle and Parachute. An Aspen-based environmental group EcoFlight took the group aloft so that they could get an idea of how natural gas wells could impact their municipal watersheds.
Officials are concerned about the potential effect of energy development on the quality of the cities’ water supplies. One Grand Junction city councilman felt that even though they can not prevent gas development in their watershed, they hope to manage it so the impact on water quality is minimal.
Wednesday, August 18-The Grand Junction City Council agreed to hold a public hearing Sept. 6 to consider approving a special ordinance that would issue watershed permits to oil and gas companies when the applicant has proven the proposed activity “does not present or create a foreseeable and substantial risk of pollution or injury to the primary watersheds, city waters or waterworks.”
Thursday, August 17-To compliment their tour of gas rigs from the air, Grand Junction and Palisade officials took a look at Rifle’s watershed area where nearly 80 gas wells have been drilled. They also learned about Rifle’s regulations covering impacts to the areas where it draws its drinking water.
Saturday, August 19-Antero Resources announced that they will drill up to 25 wells on over 20,000 leased acres between Silt and Rifle mostly south of the Colorado River. Antero and area residents developed the Rifle-Silt-New Castle Community Development Plan to mitigate drilling impacts such as noise, dust, light and traffic.
Sunday, August 20-Hunting outfitters have teamed up with environmental groups as gas rigs encroach into prime fishing, hunting lands and wilderness areas. These groups are working together to protect wilderness areas, a move that may have political ramifications.