Tuesday, November 26, 2013

How With Stealth the Well is Won!

Residents who do not own their mineral rights, but who will be directly affected by the drilling near their homes, are kept in the dark for a long time after the first steps to drill have been taken by the stake holders. Take a look at how this process of planning a well site (and getting it approved with minimal interference from residents) works! In Greeley's 2020 Comprehensive Plan it states:
"Advise residents of rezoning and development applications in areas close to their homes and encourage citizen participation in the public review process to express support or concern for a given project in an informed and constructive manner. Encourage developers to work with area residents early in the development of a land use proposal to identify concerns, incorporate suggestions, and provide accurate information on the scope of an intended land use request." ~ LU2.18 Page 191

In the case of the (Fox Run) Sheep Draw Directional Drilling Project, that did not happen!  The location for the 'proposed well head' was staked out and photographed on February 17, 2012. The 2A application was filed with COGCC four days later, on February 21st.  So, when do you think the Fox Run residents were notified? A full year later!

[A similar situation happened with the Kelly Farm permit to put 12 additional wells with 20 condensate tanks near Northridge H.S. A lease was signed on July 21, 2011 between the Kelly Farm Home Owner Association and Waltel Minerals, LLC . That's almost two years before people in the vicinity were notified! Read more here: Kelly Farm]

Says resident Karen Janata:
"On February 26, 2013, I received the letter from Greeley City planner, Brandon Gossard, attached in an email from our Home Owners Association. It was the first I had heard of this!"

The letter stated that the city,

"received a formal application from Mineral Resources, Inc. for approval of a Use By Special Review to allow up to twenty-three Oil & Gas wells on a property located north of 13th Street between 59th and 65th Avenues..Due to the nature of the surrounding area, a neighborhood meeting has been scheduled prior to the scheduling of a public hearing with Planning Commission.
This neighborhood meeting will be planned on Thursday, February 28th at 6:00 pm at the Family Fun Plex...No formal decisions about the project are made by the City of Greeley at the neighborhood meeting....Planning Commission will hold a public hearing to consider the request".
Karen says: "As you can see, we received the notification 2 days prior to this meeting. It was held at the FunPlex in a small room where there was standing room only. Mineral Resources had colored, professional, diagrams of "how beautiful" the area would look with trees/fences etc. We were assured that the fracking would be state of the art and no health risks.

Several people brought up their concerns but of course, Mineral Resources either said they didn't have the necessary statistics or gave vague answers. [City Planners] Brad Mueller and Brandon Gossard were there to represent Greeley and answer questions. I remember one young mom leaving the meeting at the end and crying.

Bob Winkler [see: Frack Files on Facebook] told me at the time that this would be a major impact on us all. Many asked why we were never notified of this meeting -- only through the Home Owners Association. Brandon said they only had to notify homeowners within 350 feet. He then took all of our email addresses.

I received an email stating there would be a planning commission with public hearing on March 12 at 1:15 pm. We had just about 2 weeks to gather information and learn more about this industrial site. Several neighbors started to go door-to-door to get people involved and to attend this hearing. However, with only 2 weeks and having the meeting in the afternoon of a work-day, we only had about 30 people at the meeting.

Also at this time, ..[a neighbor] had contacted Matt Sura, a lawyer to ask for assistance. By a slim margin, the planning commission agreed to postpone their final decision on this project for 2 weeks. Mineral Resources was asked to meet with residents to address their concerns. Matt Sura also began meeting with Mineral Resources to get the site moved to behind King Soopers [on west 10th street], where there are wells already. I myself began researching more and more about the process, accumulating all of the data on spills for a 60 day period.

The Planning Commission approved the Fox Run/Sheep Draw project on March 12 despite the many, many pages of documentation sent to them, and despite all the comments of those who attended. It was agreed upon by Fox Run residents to appeal this decision to the City Council and our appeal was delivered and paid for ($200.00).

Of note: Even though drilling companies are required to adhere to specific setbacks, waivers can be given by nearby property owners. In the Fox Run case one such party even agreed to a setback of only 40 ft to her property line instead of the required 150 (signed May, 2011) See all 15 under: Waiver Exhibit.


  1. How can I be in touch with you with a tip that might be of interest? Contact hal [at] takeonecreative.com

  2. What will it take to awaken citizens? All the industry cares about is profits to it's owners and shareholders.