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Wed Mar 9, 2016, 07:20 PM

Greeley City Council reverses planning commission's oil and gas denial verdict

A few days ago I shared our local newspaper's editorial about the oil/gas industry in our area.

Our local planning commission unanimously denied a permit for a pad with 22 new fracking wells. Last night, the Greeley city council overturned that decision.

Our local government access channel covered the meeting, where the room was packed with a couple hundred citizens voicing concerns (the majority) or support (very small minority). As per usual, our mayor was gushingly sweet to the extractors and their supporters; conversely, he was barely tolerant of those speaking against the drilling, in a couple of instances shouting at citizen-speakers to "stop talking!"

Anyway, here's what the Denver Post reported on it. Please note the extractor's comment about traffic concerns, in which he equates the impact of normal passenger vehicle traffic to hundreds of daily trips by commercial tractor-trailer rigs...

Greeley City Council reverses planning commission's oil and gas denial verdict

The City Council early Wednesday overturned a decision made earlier this year by Greeley's planning commission to deny an oil and gas operator a permit to drill 22 wells near neighborhoods on the west side of town.

The 5-2 vote by the council, which came after six hours of testimony and impassioned public comment at a special meeting that began Tuesday evening, maintained Greeley's consistent record of giving the green light to oil and gas extraction proposals that come before the city.

"We have to protect the private property rights of many citizens of Greeley who have mineral rights and have the right to access them," Mayor Tom Norton said. ...(more at link)


http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_29613923/greeley-wrestles-first-denial-oil-and-gas-permit

For those interested, I'll post the article from the Greeley newspaper in the comments section.

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Reply Greeley City Council reverses planning commission's oil and gas denial verdict (Original post)
madamesilverspurs Mar 2016 OP
madamesilverspurs Mar 2016 #1
locks Mar 2016 #2

Response to madamesilverspurs (Original post)

Wed Mar 9, 2016, 07:24 PM

1. Greeley Mayor and Council Overturn Planning Commission 4-2

http://www.greeleytribune.com/news/21023040-113/greeley-city-council-overturns-planning-commission-denial-of

Greeley Mayor and Council Overturn Planning Commission 4-2

Denver-based Extraction Oil and Gas Co., had sought approval to build the Triple Creek Directional project west of 71st Avenue and north of 18th Street on an empty lot surrounded on the north, east and south sides by neighborhoods. The plan was to put the facility on a 14-acre piece of a 69-acre property, which also is surrounded on all sides by about nine existing well sites. There are two existing wells and tanks on the site already.

Extraction officials would like to drill 11 wells with storage tanks to start with, though the overall plan is to drill 22 wells on site. It’s hardly the biggest site in urban areas in Greeley, and it is the first such site that has been denied by the Greeley Planning Commission — unanimously. The commission voted 6-0 in January to deny the company’s plans.


Extraction officials are back before the Greeley City Council to appeal the planning commission’s decision.


Residents, all whose homes would be at least 1,000 feet away from the wells — double the state’s requirements — have come out in force to oppose the project, citing concerns about health, housing values and traffic issues associated with such an industrial process in this setting that could be the next backdrop of the Sheep Draw trail extension west of 71st Avenue.


The neighbors have launched a public campaign against the project, bringing in the Audubon Society, and oil and gas opponents from throughout the Front Range. Proponents of oil and gas drilling have fought back. About 50 or so residents from throughout the Colorado Front Range, even Montana and Wyoming, have signed form letters attesting to the importance of oil and gas in Colorado and the need for Triple Creek in Greeley.

The landowners in this area, the Richardson family, which sold much of their Mineral Resources Inc., assets to Extraction in the last year, have sought the council’s approval of the project, “based upon its own development code, the prior approval of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, and our community’s long-held tradition of honoring private property rights,” according to a letter the Richardsons submitted.

Greeley is the site of more than 450 oil and gas wells, in and out of urban areas. Much of the wells at one time were rural, but housing and other developments have encroached, requiring a mix of uses.


UPDATE: 12:30 a.m. — Council votes 5-2 to overturn planning commission decision to deny Triple Creek project. Councilwomen Sandi Elder and Rochelle Galindo are the dissenting votes.

•••

UPDATE: 12:22 a.m. — The Greeley City Council will overturn planning commission’s denial of Triple Creek Directional Project in west Greeley. Residents slowly file out of the hearing room in disappointment, prior to the vote.

•••

UPDATE: 11:35 p.m. — Public hearing is closed. Extraction will come up to address resident concerns.

•••

UPDATE: 11:35 p.m. — Michelle Smith, representing mineral rights owners — 60 at this site alone — states the value of Triple Creek is $110 million to the mineral owners. This just doesn’t benefit mineral owners, but it also will benefit Greeley. Aims Community College owns 11 percent, she said, denying their right to have minerals developed takes away funds, and impacts children’s access to higher education.

•••

UPDATE: 11:25 p.m. — Resident Nelly Morales, representing surrounding neighbors in five subdivisions states: “Do not disregard those impacts even though you see them as minimal. They’re not minimal for those who live in that area.”

•••

UPDATE: 11:25 p.m. — Residents continue to express concerns about the Triple Creek project, which has already prompted some disagreements among the city council. One resident, an engineer, did an extensive engineering study on the Sheep Draw bridge along 71st Avenue and concluded it was close to falling apart and could not handle extra truck traffic. Mayor Tom Norton, also an engineer, said he didn’t appreciate his stretching of the truth. Norton noted that the bridge was due to be rebuilt next year.

•••

UPDATE: 9:30 p.m. — Greeley resident Verlyn Mahan explains his family has owned the area around this site for decades, and shutting it down will personally hurt 70 families in denying them royalties on their mineral rights.

•••

UPDATE: 9:20 p.m. — Public hearing opens with Margie Lewis. She says: Her home backs up to proposed site. We will incur property value decreases. She cites a recent study showing negative effects from drilling, and found a 1 percent loss per well during drilling. Extraction has reneged on initial promise to build a tankless system, as well, she said. “Their right to drill should not impinge on our right to enjoy our property.”

•••

UPDATE: 9:05 p.m. — The council will take a five-minute break and return for public comment.

•••

UPDATE: 8:50 p.m. — Councilman Rob Casseday said it seems to be a problem to have only one access to the site off of 71st Avenue. Community Development Director Brad Mueller said there are two existing access roads to existing wells at the site, and they can be used as auxiliary roads.

•••

UPDATE: 8:50 p.m. — A good 100 people have already filtered out of the lobby and left the meeting.

•••

UPDATE: 8:45 p.m. — Councilmember's Gates and Sandi Elder want to know about how fast the company can respond to emergencies. John Carlisle states: “When we turn pads on, our sites are manned 24 hours a day, and that goes on six to 12 months depending on the production profile. Initially that response is immediate for that notification. Once that period has gone past where it’s not manned 24 hours a day, we have night watch. Operators will be there, and they have condensed routes, so they are there frequently through the day, and a night watch operator who watches sites at night to investigate. We have emergency shut down devices.”

•••

UPDATE: 8:40 p.m. — Councilman John Gates asks why the company no longer has plans for a tankless facility, which is a way of saying the company would pipe oil out of the facility via pipe. Thingelstad said it’s just not possible right now, and he said it was near a part of the application. He said there are no true tankless facilities. There are always some tanks on any oil and gas facility.

•••

UPDATE: 8:30 p.m. — Councilman Randy Sleight asks questions of Extraction Oil and Gas engineer Blane Thingelstad in regard to how long the company will be on site, given they couldn’t be on site for five months out of the year for raptor nesting season. Thingelstad explains the drilling could take place in two phases or one, essentially meaning drilling and completion operations could take place in two years. The area is near a site for the red-tailed hawk and other protected critters.

•••

UPDATE: 7:45 p.m. — Extraction Oil and Gas engineer Blane Thingelstad explains that Extraction uses all made-in-America parts to keep every fugitive emission at bay. “By using better materials, better products, we don’t have these little leaks. By using better materials and components, we’re able to get that last little bit out of there, and we’re not having those fugitive emissions.”



“We’re practicing what we preach, putting all the best management practices we can into this project ... to make this a best-in-class facility.”



“We are at 94 percent company wide in emission reductions. Extraction is raising the bar. ... Continually beating state standards.”

•••

UPDATE: 7:15 p.m. — Extraction Oil and Gas engineer Blane Thingelstad is explaining Extraction’s project to the Greeley City Council. The overflow lobby at the District 6 administration building is now standing-room-only. All 260 seats are filled, others are standing in the aisles, watching testimony on two large screen televisions. Triple Creek, Thinglestad said, has more than 1,800 mineral owners.

•••

UPDATE: 5:50 p.m. — The lobby of the Greeley-Evans School District 6 Administration building has been filling up since 5:30 with oil and gas workers to hear the Triple Creek Directional Project, proposed by Extraction Oil and Gas. The lobby is outfitted with 300 seats with a television screen for those outside the main City council meeting to watch the proceedings.

•••

5 p.m. — Residents are expected to turn out in force tonight on a proposed oil and gas drilling project in west Greeley that seems by and large symbolic of the recent fights over oil and gas in urban areas.

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Response to madamesilverspurs (Original post)

Wed Mar 9, 2016, 10:52 PM

2. Very sorry and sad

but so proud of the good citizens of northern Colorado who have stood against fracking and came out in force against such a powerful industry. Excellent coverage of the meeting tonite on NPR.

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