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Battlement Mesa HIA/EHMS

Battlement Mesa Health Impact Assessment (2nd draft)

The Battlement Mesa Health Impact Assessment (HIA) is a document that provides objective information and evidence-based recommendations to increase the potential health benefits of natural gas drilling in the Battlement Mesa PUD, while minimizing potential health risks. On March 1, 2011, the second draft of the HIA became available for stakeholders in the community to review. We invited community stakeholders, including stakeholders in government, citizen groups, academia and the private sector, to submit questions, criticisms and comments that they may have about the HIA.

The Garfield County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) unanimously voted March 21, 2011 to extend the public comment period on the 2nd draft of the Battlement Mesa Health Impact Assessment for 30 days. Public comments were accepted until 5:00 pm MDT April 27, 2011.

The Garfield County Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously May 2 not to extend a contract with the University of Colorado School of Public Health (CSPH) to produce a final report for the Battlement Mesa Health Impact Assessment (HIA). After evaluating information and comments gathered in the first and second draft stages, the commissioners concluded that the second draft has produced the information they need to make decisions regarding the potential health impacts of an Antero Resources natural gas development project in the unincorporated Battlement Mesa area when an application is submitted to the commission. — full article


The BOCC also opted to release the CSPH from any remaining uncompleted elements of the HIA contract. Therefore, CSPH will not respond to any of the comments received regarding the HIA Second Draft, they will not prepare a final report and there will be no further public meetings regarding the HIA and its findings.

Battlement Mesa Health Impact Assessment 2nd Draft document
HIA 2nd Draft public comments* received:
Citizen comments
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
Antero Resources
West Slope Colorado Oil and Gas Association
*The BOCC has asked the University of Colorado School of Public Health not to provide any responses to the second round of public comments.
Garfield County Board of Commissioners letter closing out the Battlement Mesa Health Impact Assessment — June 6, 2011

Battlement Mesa Environmental Health and Monitoring Study Design
In order to scientifically evaluate if and how natural gas development (NGD) impacts public health, extensive information about environmental exposures and access to health information is needed.  As a secondary project associated with the Battlement Mesa HIA, the BOCC contracted CSPH to design an Environmental and Health Monitoring Study (EHMS) that could begin to gather this information. This EHMS Design, received from CSPH in December 2011 and presented to the BOCC on January 4, 2012, presents five study designs with the purpose of (1) filling information gaps identified in the Battlement Mesa HIA; (2) monitoring the environment in Battlement Mesa throughout Antero Resource’s NGD project; and (3) monitoring the health of Battlement Mesa residents and the Battlement Mesa community throughout Antero Resource’s NGD project. CSPH asserts that while these designs were motivated by proposed activities in Battlement Mesa, they also may be applied to other NGD areas in Garfield County.

The following five study designs comprise the overall EHMS Design:
     1. Air, Water, and Soil Monitoring Study designed to monitor the levels of pollutants released to air, water, and soil throughout the well development and production process.
     2. Characterization of Air Emissions Study designed to assess the hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) emitted from NGD activities and their impact on human health.
     3. Dispersion of Air Emissions Study designed to assess the degree and extent of HAPs emitted from NGD activities and their impact on human health.
     4. Medical Monitoring Study designed to track physical and mental health trends over time and to identify health effects of NGD in Battlement Mesa.
     5. Community Monitoring Study designed to track ongoing community health status and identify community effects of NGD.

The “Air, Water, and Soil Monitoring Study” (number 1) is designed to be conducted independently.  The “Characterization of Air Emission Study” and the “Dispersion of Air Emissions Study” (numbers 2 and 3) are designed to be conducted together because the Dispersion of Emissions Study” relies on information from the “Characterization of Air Emission Study”.   In addition, conducting these studies together will allow for significant cost savings in sampling and field efforts. The “Medical Monitoring Study” and “Community Monitoring Study” (numbers 4 and 5) are designed to be conducted together because the survey presented in the “Medical Monitoring Study is designed to collect information for both.  Conducting one survey for both studies will realize significant cost savings.

Following the presentation of the study to the BOCC on January 4, 2012, the BOCC specifically directed Garfield County Public Health staff to move forward on exploring air quality monitoring expansion and/or enhancement in the Battlement Mesa area.  Additionally, the BOCC directed staff to move forward on the development of an air quality study that would move in the direction of EHMS studies 2 and 3.  No specific direction was given to pursue soil and water quality monitoring elements of Study 1 or studies 4 and 5.  Staff continues to evaluate all elements of the EHMS.

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