Garfield County commits $1 million for pollution study

By: Rob Hughes Email
By: Rob Hughes Email

BATTLEMENT MESA, Colo (KKCO) Oil companies will invest another $800,000 in the study. Announcement of the study comes as a the 3 year battle in Battlement Mesa between residents and Antero Resources has come to an end. A group of residents sued over alleged impacts of oil and gas development by Antero resources.
This week their lawsuit was dismissed by a Denver District Court judge. Residents we spoke with say they're just looking forward to getting on with their lives.

"I interact with a lot of people," says Keith Lammey, a Battlement Mesa resident and community leader. "There are people on both sides of this issue; but there are only a few that are pro drilling, and only a few that are anti-drilling," says Lammey.

Antero has announced plans to drill up to 200 wells within Battlement Mesa. "There's a whole lot of people, very long-time people and new residents that really think this is a great community, and really don't have strong feelings either way; and really don't have any interest if that lawsuit goes forward or not," he says.

Lammey says several agencies will protect the community. "There are a lot of people looking out for us, not only in our community, but at the county level and state level as well; so I don't lose a lot of sleep over it either way."

"The community has kind of moved on, not that they're accepting of it, or approve of it," says Steve Rippy, manager of the Battlement Mesa Metro District and Service Association. Rippy says there is a silver lining. "Because of the high amount of production that's been happening the past ten years, that revenue stream has really increased, and it's been really beneficial to a lot of jurisdictions like the fire district, and Garfield County; and the town of Parachute," adds Rippy. He says homeowners can benefit as well. "If they weren't around, the assessed values, or the mill levies, would be set at a much higher rate, and residents would pay a higher amount of property taxes.

And for Lammey, he's confident residents just want to be able to enjoy their lives in this scenic community. "All we're really concerned about is the health, safety, and welfare of our community," says Lammey.

An Antero Resource spokesman says the suit was thrown out because the group didn't have a legal argument and because the drilling hasn't yet occurred, so there's no legal issue. The impact study will be done by Colorado State University. They'll look at the type and quantity of emissions from drilling and fracking. The study won't be released until 2015, unless researchers detect dangerous levels of pollution.

Residents also say Garfield County has a budget surplus that has funded several projects in Battlement Mesa.

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