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County worked hard to control drilling impact

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I was disappointed to read the opening statement in "Doubling density near Durango" (HCN, 11/14/05: Doubling density near Durango). As chair of the board of county commissioners who signed memoranda of understanding with BP and with Samson Resources, I can guarantee you that we did not sign "deals allowing two energy companies to double the density of coalbed methane wells near Durango." In Colorado, the density of drilling is not up to the county; it is a Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) decision.

What we did do is work very hard to assure that, when the density in some locations doubled, it would be done in the best way for our residents. We did not pledge "not to oppose applications ... to reduce spacing ..." We did agree that we would not oppose the issues addressed in the MOUs, as they had been agreed upon in a complicated and time-consuming negotiation process, and several points were unprecedented concessions by industry.

Industry representatives, landowners, attorneys for citizens and COGCC members all agreed that the agreements we signed were a good thing.

Sheryl Ayers
La Plata County Commissioner
Durango, Colorado

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