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Oil company, Windsor at odds over planned drilling site

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Great Western Oil and Gas Co. no longer wants to comply with Windsor's regulations for drilling operations, Mayor John Vazquez said Monday, Sept. 22.

 

The Town of Windsor is working to annex the property west of Larimer County Road 13 before Great Western gets approval from the state to begin oil and gas operations on the land. The Denver-based company previously said it would voluntarily accept the town's restrictions for the project, but on Monday Vazquez told residents that Great Western has changed its mind.

 

"Because this particular application is trying to avoid our conditional use grant application process, they want to race through the permitting process. They don't want to sit down at this point and have a conversation," Vazquez said. "This is the first time the the town has been put in this position."

 

The company denies Vazquez's allegations. "...Great Western previously voluntarily agreed to implement all of the Town of Windsor Conditional Use Grant (CUG) process Best Management Practices and we fully intend to follow through with that commitment," the company's CEO Rich Frommer states in a letter sent to the Coloradoan Tuesday afternoon.

 

Vazquez wasn't immediately available to comment on the discrepancy.

 

In late July the company notified Bison Ridge residents that drilling and exploration will begin on the 40- to 50-acre property south of the subdivision, at the southwest coroner of Colorado Highway 392 and LCR 13, in the spring of 2015. Bison Ridge homeowners, as well as those from the High Pointe Estates and Highland Meadows communities, have been urging the Town of Windsor to perform an enclave annexation of the proposed drilling site to stop or further regulate Great Western's operations.

 

"I'm here to plead and beg you guys to help us in moving forward with making tighter restrictions for the gas companies," Bison Ridge resident Terri Richter told Town Board Monday. "It doesn't sound like they're very concerned with us as citizens."

 

Richter and other residents have said that the proposed project would negatively affect home values, cause noise and traffic disturbances and adversely affect resident's health and safety.

 

"The relationship between oil and gas companies and surface users — residents and people that oil and gas impacts — has always been a very confrontational existence," Vazquez said. "The industry has been a good partner with Windsor, to date. This particular piece of property actually could test that relationship."

 

This week, Windsor will start notifying residents via the Greeley Tribune of the town's plan to pursue an enclave annexation of the property where Great Western wants to drill. After the notice runs for four consecutive weeks, Windsor Town Board can vote on to taking over the property from Larimer County. The final vote is on schedule for Oct. 27.

 

As of Tuesday, Sept. 23, Great Western had yet to file a permit applications for the project, but the company plans to submit the applications within the week, Great Western's Regulatory Manager Scot Donato said.

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