Gas company has plans to drill 284 wells south of Silt | VailDaily.com

Gas company has plans to drill 284 wells south of Silt

John Colson
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

A natural gas drilling company is poised to drill 284 wells in an area about six miles south of the town of Silt known as North Castle Springs, on mostly public land between Divide Creek and Baldy Creek.

The property, more than 6,500 acres of land, is mostly controlled by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, but includes 464 acres of private land.

According to BLM officials, the Environmental Assessment for the drilling master plan got its final OKs from the agency on Friday, and is to be posted on the BLM website (www.blm.gov/co/st/en/) within the next few days for public inspection.

The plan has generated some concerns from the nearby towns of Silt and New Castle, according to planning consultant Davis Farrar.

Farrar, who currently is both the acting administrator of Silt and the “contract planner” for New Castle, sent a letter to the BLM in June, outlining the towns’ concerns.

Those concerns, according to the letter, include:

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• Traffic impacts on the Silt interchange at I-70;

• Primary vehicle routes to and from the drilling area from New Castle;

• Emergency response planning “in the event of spills of fuels, fracturing fluids, contaminated water and any other liquid materials that may contaminate surface or ground waters”;

• The issue of “prompt notification to Garfield County, Town of Silt and Town of New Castle in the event of spills of toxic or potentially toxic liquid products”;

• a request for information about well casings, geologic formations to be drilled; and other matters.

“If they address those concerns, we’re probably happy. If they don’t, we’re probably not happy,” Farrar quipped.

He added that it is his understanding that Antero has had “a pretty good relationship with Silt in the past. I’m hoping that continues.”

According to Allen Crockett, a natural resource specialist with the BLM, the new drilling plan is to get under way “pretty soon, later this summer or early fall.”

Vanessa Bull, team leader for the Castle Springs environmental reviews, said it is to encompass 13 new pads and the expansion of three existing pads.

Crockett also said that there was a previous drilling operation, known as the Castle Springs GAP, that produced 98 wells in the same region.

jcolson@postindependent.com