Colorado - Battlement Mesa

State: Colorado
Region: Western Slope

In 2009, Antero Resources announced a proposed Comprehensive Development Plan that would include constructing ten well pads and drilling over 200 natural gas wells within the residential area of Battlement Mesa, an unincorporated community of 5,000. Some pads could be as close as 400 feet from homes and recreation areas.

The proposal was contested and a Health Impact Assessment was conducted by the Colorado School of Public Health to gauge the impacts of oil and gas drilling in the community and be used as a decision-making tool to incorporate these issues into the land use decision making process.

The first draft, issued in 2010, predicted that residents most likely will face negative health effects from Antero's activities. The report recommended disclosure of chemicals, increasing setbacks, involving residents in decision making and decreasing emissions.

In 2011, the second draft of the Battlement Mesa Health Impact Assessment [HIA] was released for a month-long public comment period. 
The Denver-based team of scientists concluded, for the second time, that the health and safety of the residents of Battlement Mesa probably will be threatened by oil and gas drilling within the boundaries of the community. The document was never finished after Garfield County Commissioners voted to end their contract in 2011.

Residents took matters into their own hands and formed a "Bucket Brigade" to monitor real-time air quality in their backyards. Collecting air samples in specially equipped five-gallon buckets, trained residents are now part of GCM's worldwide efforts to record pollution incidents.

In 2015, Garfield County Commissioners approved applications for Ursa Resources to drill wells within the residential development. Although the approval came with conditions meant to safeguard neighbors, residents feel it is inappropriate to drill in the area and community rights activists are pushing local control initiatives on the state ballot to give local communities control over oil and gas development.