11:36am

Sun May 5, 2013
Environment

Drilling In Residential Greeley Becoming A Reality

A seismic truck outside the KUNC studio today. These trucks will be measuring oil and gas deposits around Greeley until mid May.
Credit Jackie Fortier / KUNC

We felt, before we saw the trucks outside our KUNC studio Sunday. These seismic trucks have been pounding the pavement around Greeley for the last week in search of oil and gas deposits.

The Greeley Tribune reports “the convoy of trucks will amble along from east to west, sending vibrations into the ground. The sound bounces off the geophones placed 165 feet apart on the north-west streets throughout the city in small but curious piles of plastic boxes, cables and sandbags, which at first prompted many calls to the police after the Boston bombing.”

One of the many geophones placed along streets
Credit Jim Hill / KUNC

A group of homeowners are protesting new drilling on the west side of Greeley, close to where the trucks were Sunday.

The Denver Post reports that “a project approved by city planners would put 16 wells under the Fox Run neighborhood, with wellheads and tanks 350 feet from porches.”

A seismic truck outside the KUNC studio. You can see the pounding mechanism on the bottom that hits the ground to detect oil and gas deposits.
Credit Jackie Fortier / KUNC

Under a new state buffer zone rule which takes effect Aug. 1 wells must be set back 500 feet from occupied buildings in urban areas. But the wells can be closer if the company gets written consent from property owners and state regulators – and any wells drilled before August could be as close as 350 feet, reports the Denver Post.

Opponents and Fox Run residents point to a scarcity of “of scientific data on whether air pollution from wells would hurt people. They cite a University of Colorado Denver study that found health effects may be possible when people living closer than a half mile to drilling are exposed to chemicals,” reports the Denver Post.

The Fox Run homeowners are appealing to the Greeley city council, but are not expected to prevail.

Update 05/06/2013: This post was updated with a picture of the geophones found on the streets.