- Associated Press - Friday, December 18, 2015

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) - Garfield County has approved a company’s application to drill within the Battlement Mesa residential development.

County commissioners on Thursday voted unanimously to approve Ursa Resources application to drill, The Post Independent reports (http://bit.ly/1QufFUG). The vote came after three days of testimony and questioning, with many Battlement Mesa residents voicing concerns.

Commissioner John Martin said before the first vote that the decision carried a lot of heartache and angst, feelings that are likely to continue.

Approval of the application comes with more than 70 conditions intended to mitigate the impacts of the operations such as noise, particularly in the drilling and completion phases that involve hydraulic fracturing or so-called “fracking.” Among those conditions is a requirement that all of phase one be completed within three years from the start of construction.

In remarks prior to voting, Commissioner Tom Jankovsky said numerous factors were at play.

“This discussion has to deal with drilling within the . Battlement Mesa PUD,” Jankovsky said. “But it also has to deal with property rights and state laws, and is this request compatible with existing uses . all those things have been in play.”

The three commissioners unanimously approved the applications.

At public meetings before the vote, several residents said they were concerned about how close the drilling would be homes and say nearby wells already cause health issues. Others who spoke positively about Ursa’s community engagement.

“I see three years of nuisances,” Dave Devanney, chair of Battlement Concerned Citizens, a citizen group that lobbied the county to deny the applications, said Thursday. “I see three years of being the police force of industrial operations in our residential community.”

Phase one plans, which include a total of 52 natural gas wells and 2.5 miles of pipeline, still need approval from the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.

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Information from: Post Independent, http://www.postindependent.com/

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