Top doc lauds GarCo officials for offer to fund health study

The top doc for a nonprofit group pushing health impact studies as part of the public decision-making process on major development projects recently had high praise for the Garfield County commissioners, who decided they may be able to fund such a study in the community of Battlement Mesa.

Battlement Mesa
Battlement Mesa

According to the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, Dr. Aaron Wernham of the Health Impact Project, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts, said “We think this is the sort of work that counties should be doing.”

As first reported by the Colorado Independent, a citizen activist group called the Battlement Concerned Citizens appealed to county health officials to apply for a Health Impact Assessment grant to study air and water quality, as well other impacts such as noise and light pollution, before approving a plan by Denver-based Antero Resources to drill up to 200 natural gas wells in the unincorporated Western Slope community of 5,000.

Garfield County health officials see the value in such an assessment – a first for a Colorado community faced with a major drilling project – but state officials, who also must approve Antero’s drilling plan, were noncommittal on the possibility of a health study.

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