Routt County Planning Commission OKs oil drilling permit

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— The Routt County Planning Commission on Thursday night approved an application from Quicksilver Resources to drill a new oil well on the Camilletti Ranch north of Milner.

Commission Chairman Jay Gallagher said the vote was 6-1 with Oak Creek member Andrew Benjamin dissenting.

Gallagher said Benjamin voted against the application because he wanted a water monitoring well to be tested quarterly instead of the annual testing the commission approved.

Gallagher said that about six people commented on the application during the public comment period and that the two-hour meeting was attended by about 35 people.

“It was a light crowd because at the same time there was a showing of (the documentary) ‘Gasland’ at the library,” Gallagher said.

Quicksilver Resources won approval, 2-1, from the Routt County Board of Commissioners on March 20 for a well farther west on Wolf Mountain. That application was approved by a 7-2 vote of the Planning Commission.

Some of the conditions from that permit were passed along to the Camilletti permit, which still would need approval from the Routt County Board of Commissioners.

In addition to the annual testing of water from a monitoring well, emissions from the drilling operation would need to follow the same air-quality standards as drill sites on the Front Range, Gallagher said.

The Camilletti well pad would be accessed directly from U.S. Highway 40 without using county roads. Quicksilver Resources indicated that it intends to use a portion of an existing private ranch road before branching off to connect to the 2.8-acre pad site. The private access road to the drilling site will cross Cheney and Little Cheney creeks, requiring a water body setback permit from the county.

County officials said although the drilling operation would be visible from a stretch of U.S. 40, it would be screened from the view of Milner residents.

A closed-loop system would be used to handle drilling fluids on site, negating the need for open pits. Quicksilver plans to haul away fluids that are contaminated with chemical compounds.

Proposed site of Camilletti well

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com

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