Saturday, June 15, 2013

67 Gas Wells Planned Near Frontier School and Walmart

If you have ever seen a tank 'battery'; a well site with several oil, or gas condensation tanks; you would gasp at the idea of having 67 within city limits, close to homes with children! From this great vantage point on 29th street you can get a taste of what half that number of wells, 34 to be exact, looks like!

The multi well site near U.S. 85 and U.S. 34.

Some of the 34 gas separators. Each has a pipe that emits
VOC's; Volatile Organic Chemical Compounds. See here.

Separators, and a flare which burns 'excess' gas.

The site behind Walmart will have 4 times as many tanks!

Gas separators releasing VOCs, creating harmful ozone.

Flare and gas separators.

The following is excerpted from the Greeley Tribune's article,

Residents fight two multi well site proposals in city. 

My comments are in orange.

Logan Richardson, president of Mineral Resources, said the company’s permit applications with the city will only be for half that number of wells.

That is not exactly reassuring! When Mineral Resources discussed the proposed drill site in Fox Run with the residents and their attorney, the plan was for five wells instead of the proposed 16 to 22. Imagine the surprise when at the City Council public hearing, Logan Richardson said the plan was for 16 wells!
Thanks to the photos above, you can see what a site with 34 wells will look like!

 Brad Mueller, Greeley’s director of community development, said both sites will go through the city’s Use by Special Review permitting process. Once a company gets approval from the COGCC [Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission], Greeley officials review the site and recommend to the planning commission whether to approve the permit.

That is not reassuring either! In the Fox Run case the Planning Commission voted in favor of drilling close to homes and schools! Where is the common sense in that? Residents should be able to trust that the Oil and Gas industry can not move onto the open lot across the street! Yet, that is what our city council allows to happen. Clearly, neither they nor the Planning Commission follow the criteria laid out for the evaluation!
"2. The location, size, design and operating characteristics of the proposed use shall be compatible with the existing and future land uses within the general area in which the proposed use is to be located and will not create significant noise, traffic or other conditions or situations that may be objectionable or detrimental to other permitted uses in the vicinity. 
Reasonable conditions may be placed on uses by special review to protect the public health, safety and welfare by mitigating impacts to achieve compatibility and complementary design,  especially where a non-residential use is located adjacent to a residential use;"

Drilling inside city limits is so totally illogical and unexpected, it should be the main feature of the city's 'Greeley Unexpected' image campaign! And, what to make of the city's 2020 Comprehensive Plan that
"was to be a guide to direct public and private growth and development decisions through the year 2020...Assuring the development of a safe and pleasant community; improving the visual appeal of the community;..[to] Disallow high impact agricultural and heavy industrial land uses that generate obnoxious influences, such as noise, fumes, or hazards."
Mueller said the city can also require neighborhood meetings before the hearing goes before the planning commission, which will likely happen in this case. Still, Weld Air and Water, a group of about 100 residents that has vocalized concerns over the proposed projects, say the well pads are too close to schools and homes. The south Greeley project is less than 1,000 feet from Frontier Academy Elementary School [K-3 grades], and the downtown project less than 500 feet from the nearest home, they say.

Therese Gilbert... of Weld Air and Water who lives in Greeley, said she is particularly concerned by ground-level ozone and the portion of pollution here caused by oil and gas activity. Gordon Pierce, technical services program manager for the Air Pollution Control Division, said in an email that the emissions related to oil and gas development comprise at least 55 percent of the total for the northern Colorado area.

Following a highly contentious appeal of another well site by Mineral Resources near the west Greeley neighborhood of Fox Run, Gilbert said she feels city officials won’t change their attitude about drilling in city limits. That’s why she said it’s important to her that the state implements more stringent emissions rules. Gilbert said she and members of Weld Air and Water understand the importance of oil and gas to Greeley’s and Weld County’s economy. “We get it,” she said. “But you cannot put a price on public health.”

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