An open letter from the Mayor of Timnath to town residents.
The Town of Timnath is located near one of the most active oil and gas basins in Colorado, the Denver Julesburg Basin. Recently, a company called Peterson Energy proposed drilling wells just outside our town limits. Because of our location, we are likely to see increasing oil and gas activity in our region.
Your Town Council has opted to seize this development as an opportunity to strengthen our commitment to the mission and vision of the community. In doing so we vow to preserve the quality of life in Timnath by:
- Safeguarding the health, safety and welfare of our residents and visitors
- Acting as stewards of the environment
- Supporting the growing economy that is critical to the future of our community
Dealing with this issue appropriately and soundly has been, and will continue to be, a top priority for your Town Council. We take our job to serve in the best interest of our residents seriously.
To that end, we are taking several steps to ensure our community’s well-being:
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Peterson Energy
While we may not have authority over the proposed wells because they are outside our Town limits, we are a lease holder of a portion of the mineral rights and as a result are able to impose public health requirements that go above and beyond what the state requires. We are therefore creating an agreement with the well operator that will require further mitigation of noise, appearance, and other impacts of the wells on the residents of Timnath than would be possible if the Town did not own such mineral rights. This MOU will include more air and water quality monitoring than the state requires. We are working with experts from CSU to develop an effective and sound approach that will likely include drilling several wells to test water quality and the installation of several air quality monitors.
Site Access Agreement
Truck traffic is a significant concern for the community. For that reason, we are also entering into a Site Access Agreement with Petersen Energy that will minimize the impact of traffic on residents of Timnath. This agreement will direct the majority of truck traffic to Harmony Road eastbound from Town and with no more than 3 trips per day on CR1 south bound. These south bound trips will reduce to one every five days as the well begins production. In addition, the agreement will require Petersen Energy to pay for damages as a result of their operation and clean up any debris that falls onto public roads within 24 hours. Once the wells are in operation, the number of truck trips is anticipated to decline to one trip every five days, causing minimal impact in the area.
Oil and Gas Ordinance
We are also developing an ordinance to strengthen the Town’s own oil and gas development laws. This ordinance will help make sure that we are prepared if an application to drill is proposed within Town boundaries. These extra safety measures will help us govern activity within the Town, while being in compliance with state rules and regulations.
Ongoing Public Involvement
The input and perspective of the residents of Timnath is critically important. Your Town Council will continue to engage in conversation with you, listen to your concerns, and provide frequent updates on this rapidly changing issue.
Most recently a community meeting was held on January 8 at Bethke Elementary School in effort to inform residents on the issues associated with oil and gas development. The Town Council sponsored the educational work session that included presentations from the Town, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and Peterson Energy. Attendees were encouraged to submit questions during the evening and as follow-up the Town and participating agencies have answered them in the attached document.
In addition to these activities, we are also closely monitoring developments from the task force the Governor created to explore additional regulatory oversight of oil and gas activity and the legislative recommendations this task force will produce. The goal of the task force is to minimize conflict, balance interests, protect communities and allow reasonable access to private mineral rights. As the outcome of this process continues to take shape and inform our local governance, we will continue to keep the community abreast of the developments.
Once again, our commitment to best serve and represent your interests is our top priority. We will continue to take the necessary steps to fulfill our promise to protect the health, safety and welfare of our citizens as well as balance the economic needs and opportunities of our growing community. We sincerely appreciate your ongoing partnership and contributions to our Town.
Mayor Jill Grossman-Belisle