Letter to the editor: Government for who?
We have all been impacted in some way by the methane gas development in this area. Some areas, such as Kenilworth, have been impacted more than other areas. But Kenilworth has not been impacted by the drilling as much as we have been impacted by government.
When you watch the trail of how this happened around Kenilworth it is hard to understand why we have government and who it is for. When all this started, we should have just given this entire county to Andarko Petroleum and told all the government to go home. It is hard to accept what has happened around Kenilworth when you understand that none of it was necessary. If they can angle drill to a quarter section that they can't get to, than they can angle drill to a quarter section that they don't have to get to like our community ballpark and our national parks. Water disposal wells can be put anywhere and they don't have to be permitted a few hundred feet from our homes.
But technology and alternatives can not be considered because the operations of the government entities and bureaucracies, at every level, have become so tied to the monetary gains of this development. There is no justification for government involvement if their only priority is the maximum monetary gain for themselves and the industry under their scrutiny. Carbon County government went beyond the call of duty to support this impact around Kenilworth. Once Carbon County made sure that the zoning in the entire county gave a blank check to gas exploration, they had no business in the permitting process around Kenilworth. But without any requirement, Carbon County Planning and Building Department drafted a letter in total support of the drilling company and sent it out. That letter became part of the permitting applications and the justification for everything that has happened around Kenilworth.
Carbon County government could have worked with the people of this community but they choose to only support the drilling company. That letter gave the drilling company our community ballpark, which was presented to this town by Governor Scott Matheson who came to Kenilworth to throw out the first ball. They used the ball diamond as a pre-made pad and even call it the ballpark well. The drilling company representative even told us if we didn't like losing our ballpark then he would drill it on Main Street. Then the county loaded up the ballpark fence and bleachers and hauled it all off.
The State of Utah gives us the Division of Oil, Gas and Mining (DOGM). DOGM takes their job description from a 1983 code which states, "It is declared to be in the public interest to foster, encourage, and promote the development, production and utilization of natural resources" and that is all that DOGM is doing. They use this code to justify doing exactly what the drilling companies want with no planning or oversight. But the real kicker is that DOGM gets their operational budget from these wells. More wells mean more money for them. So Kenilworth gets a massive rig right next to town operating 24-7 for months with noise, dust and soot falling on our cars.
The U.S. Government gives us the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The BLM started all this with their Environmental Impact Study (EIS). The portions of the EIS that concern Kenilworth can only be described as a mess. There is an obvious lack of any attempt to learn the specifics of the area of study. That EIS is nothing but a two inch thick form letter. I have been told by former BLM employees that the BLM doesn't even care about the environment but that it would be very easy for them to do so. It seems that the BLM is hiring good educated people and then not letting them use their education.
History has granted us an opportunity to change the way we develop our resources. We can have the gas that we need. We can have the royalties, the jobs and we can still have our quality of life if we just do this together as Americans with respect for all.
What has happened around Kenilworth does not have to happen anywhere else and it doesn't have to happen to Arches National Park.