Support Gunnison County’s Proposed Oil and Gas Regulations

On August 28th, at 1:00 pm, the Gunnison County Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing on proposed oil and gas regulations.  For almost two years, Citizens for a Healthy Community has worked with the Gunnison County Planning Commission and Board of County Commissioners to ensure the updated regulations provide strong protections for public health and the environment.

Citizens for a Healthy Community urges you to show your support for the regulations with one very important exception – the set-back requirement for drilling near water bodies is far too short of a distance.

The current draft regulations propose a mere 150-foot buffer between oil and gas operations and the nearest water body.  In order to better protect our streams, lakes and wetlands from natural gas pollution, Citizens for a Healthy Community urges you to ask that the water body set-back be increased to 500 feet.

On February 9, 2012, a well operated by Gunnison Energy Corporation released five barrels of produced water because of a “frozen bull valve.”  The spill report states that surface water, located 222 feet away, was impacted and none of the fluid was recovered.  In addition, a conflicting report estimates that more produced water – “greater than 20 barrels” – was spilled.

On April 6, 2004, SG Interests reported 550 barrels of fluids were spilled from a well in La Plata County.  Surface water, though located 450 feet away, was still impacted by the spill.  The cause of the spill was human error.

There are only two examples of the 15 spills reported by operators Gunnison Energy and SG Interests over the last 10 years in La Plata and Gunnison Counties.  Faulty equipment, mechanical failure, and human error will continue to occur in the future.  As gas drilling continues to accelerate in the region, the County Commissioners should fulfill their duty to protect public health and the environment by enacting protective regulations, including strong water body setbacks.

Please show your support for the proposed regulations, and ask for a more protective water body set-back, by sending comments to the Gunnison County Commissioners at before the public hearing on August 28th.

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