- Associated Press - Saturday, October 25, 2014

GREELEY, Colo. (AP) - Members of Gov. John Hickenlooper’s oil and gas task force took a drilling rig tour in south Weld County, another step in educating themselves about the drilling and reclamation process before they discuss suggestions to regulate the industry in urban areas.

Sara Barwinski, Steve Moreno and Kent Peppler, three members on the 21-member task force, toured several Anadarko sites on Friday, including an electric drilling rig and a completed well and reclamation site.

Group co-chairwoman Gwen Lachelt, a La Plata County commissioner, said the tour was helpful to get members familiar with the process, but the hard work is just beginning.

Hickenlooper and U.S. Rep. Jared Polis announced the formation of the task force on Aug. 4 to resolve conflicts arising between oil and gas development and residents concerned about the health effects of such projects.

“Our task is to resolve the conflict,” Lachelt said after the tour.

Creating the task force was an effort to head off a public vote on initiatives that were headed for the November ballot box - two that industry officials say would have stopped energy development and one pro-drilling measure that would exclude cities that ban fracking from sharing the tax wealth generated by the industry statewide.

Moreno said he liked the idea of using electrical drilling rigs, which gives companies another choice when drilling near populations, the Greeley Tribune reported Saturday (http://tinyurl.com/q6hlkyv).

“It shows there are responsible ways of doing this and addressing issues of noise control,” he said.

Barwinski, who has been involved in trying to keep oil and gas development out of neighborhoods or near schools, said the site, while it was a cleaner and quieter option, it still is part of a larger process that in the end would only make a bad site “less bad.”

Though she said she’d like to see 59 more such rigs drilling across Weld County, instead of the 59 plus diesel rigs running in the field now, she said the process is still industrial.

“It’s not good or bad,” she said while touring the electrical drilling rig. “It’s a heavy industrial process, and that’s why there are places it doesn’t belong, so we need to look at locations and the process.”

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Information from: The Tribune of Greeley, Co, http://greeleytribune.com

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