Battlement Mesa residents concerned over oil/gas leaks

By: Matt Vanderveer Email
By: Matt Vanderveer Email

BATTLEMENT MESA, Colo. (KKCO) - A sportsmen's advocacy group has come forward with an analysis on how oil and gas spills impact wildlife and tourism dollars here on the Western Slope.

Mesa, Garfield and Rio Blanco County's were all analyzed. According to the analysis, Garfield County was the biggest culprit when it came to spills and leaks.

Living near an oil rig is just part of life for Battlement Mesa residents and some say it comes with concerns.

"It would create a large fish kill, let's say, if they got into the Colorado River,” says Paul Light of “Battlement Concerned Citizens”.

Concerned residents in Battlement Mesa say oil spills and natural gas leaks happen far too often.

"Obviously there is going to be significant pipeline activity in battlement mesa,” says another member Dave Devaney.

The Bullmoose Sportsmen's Alliance analyzed a report from the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and found, in a ten year time span, there were more than 5 million gallons of wastewater, oil and chemicals leaked on the western slope.

"We have to be concerned about potential contamination or spills,” says Area Wildlife Manager JT Romatzke.

The analysis also found surface water and groundwater had been tainted in at least 77 spills. Something the Division of Wildlife says can be serious.

"The majority of species that reside here in the state of Colorado live in or reside around water,” says Romatzke.

Spokesperson for Williams Oil & Gas Susan Alvillar , whose company has a natural gas rig in Parachute, says they understand the potential effects and have a plan to stop leaks.

"The first line of defense for our drinking water systems is our surface casing,” says Alvillar.

She says their in-house guidelines are even stricter than the federal laws.

"We place the surface casing to the regulated depth if not deeper,” she says.

Which she says won't allow natural gas to affect wildlife or humans.

"We really preach a lot on doing things by the book,” says Alvillar.

The Bullmoose Sportsmen Alliance says they analyzed findings of the COGCC as part of their goal to preserve wildlife for the purposes of hunting and angling.

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