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History (go to top of page)
GVCA is a nonprofit community organization established in 1997 in Garfield County Colorado. Landowners were concerned about the proposed well-space from one pad per 320 acres to one pad per 40 acres. The rising awareness of the potential impacts and implications from this dramatic change of well pad spacing led to this group of citizens to organize and form GVCA.

The Grand Valley Citizens Alliance (GVCA) formed as a subdivision of Western Colorado Congress (WCC). GVCA is one of 6 community groups of the Western Colorado Congress http://www.wccongress.org/index.htm, which belongs Western Organization of Resource Councils, a network of grassroots organizations from seven states, including Colorado, North and South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Oregon, and Idaho.

GVCA subcommittees: (go to top of page)
Battlement Concerned Citizens ( BCC )

BCC was formed as a committee of GVCA in July of 2009.  This was in response to the announcement by Antero Resources, at a community meeting in May, that they were planning to drill up to 200 natural gas well on ten well-pads within the PUD boundaries of Battlement Mesa.  Antero had leased the mineral rights from Exxon Corporation and created a Surface Use Agreement with Battlement Mesa Company in advance of the announcement.
Concerns were raised about the potential impact on the health, safety, welfare and property values of community residents.  A citizen petition was created, asking regulators to delay permitting decisions until after a health study had been completed.  With over 400 signatures obtained in about two weeks, Garfield County responded by authorizing and funding a Health Impact Assessment (HIA).  That health study, by the Colorado School of Public Health, identified a variety of human and community health issues. that would likely occur.  The report also included over 70 specific recommendations to mitigate the negative impacts.

BCC has also developed what is known as a “Bucket Brigade”.  With guidance and funding assistance from GVCA and the Western Colorado Congress, community volunteers were trained to collect air samples during times of odor problems for analysis to determine the cause.
BCC is in constant contact with local and state public health officials as well as the oil and gas regulatory agencies.  Also, BCC has developed a working relationship with experts in the public health arena, who share our concerns.

BCC meets and communicates regularly with community residents.  Meetings are held on the second and fourth Wednesday of the month, at 1:30PM at the Battlement Mesa Activity Center
(Highlight and link bucket brigade to the data collection page.)

Rifle Silt New Castle Peach Valley (RSPN) (go to top of page)
In 2010 residents of Silt Mesa and Peach Valley, near Silt, Colorado, discovered Antero's application to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Committee (COGCC) to drill in their back yards and increase the density of wells in their neighborhood from 1 well per 360 acres to 1 well per 40 acres. GVCA helped form the RSPN subcommittee and helped convince the Garfield County Board of Commissioners to successfully challenge the spacing request.

Projects and Achievements (go to top of page)
The work of many dedicated GVCA members over the years has resulted in a number of groundbreaking projects that have been touted as national models for best management practices. As natural gas exploration is poised to expand at exponential levels in the East, this work is of huge value to areas now grappling with the arrival of industrial development from natural gas in their communities.

Community Development Plan (go to top of page)
When news of gas drilling arrived in the Silt Mesa Peach Valley area in 2004, GVCA held public meetings informing citizens of 'need to know information', including:

GVCA members then met with industry representatives to write the Community Development Plan, an informal agreement to guide best management practices. This plan can be viewed in full at:


As a result of this plan, the Energy Advisory Board (EAB) was formed. The EAB, hosted by the county, is made up of representatives from the community and the oil and gas industry. It meets on the first Thursday of most months and serves as forum to share information and field complaints.

New Rules (go to top of page)
In 2009 new rules for the regulation of the Oil and Gas Industry went into effect for the state of Colorado. These new rules establish a greater balance between landowners and industry and revised the composition of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Committee (COGCC) to reflect that balance. GVCA members played a significant role in negotiating these revisions.

Health Impact Assessment (go to top of page)
In response to pressure from the BCC, the Garfield County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) authorized a Health Impact Assessment to evaluate any potential impacts of drilling within the Battlement Mesa PUD. The Draft Battlement Mesa HIA, Revision 1 Conducted by Colorado School of Public Health - February 2011 can be viewed in full at:



MIT extrACT Project (go to top of page)
At the height of the 2005 Garfield County Gas Boom a graduate student from MIT was doing research work with Theo Colborn at the TDEX research organization on impacts of chemicals used in gas drilling. This student’s research, and her alarm over the nature and magnitude of environmental and health impacts due to gas development led to the formation of the extrACT project at MIT's Center for Future Civic Media. The center launches projects that utilize technology to assist communities with challenges faced in today's modern word, and in this case, from the natural gas industries intrusion into residential areas of Colorado.

MIT's extrACT team has been working with members of GVCA for the last three years in testing and developing the web based information sharing and reporting system re natural gas development impacts and issues. The program launched in several states, with Garfield County Colorado being the first community actively utilizing the project. GVCA members continue to be involved in the project, and the information reported on impacts and issues surrounding gas development here in Colorado are now being shared and utilized in other areas of the country such as New York and Pennsylvania, where gas drilling is ramping up. The extract project can be seen at http://scrapper.media.mit.edu/wiki/WellWatch

Films (go to top of page)
Members of GVCA have been very involved in a number of award winning documentaries focusing on impacts from natural developments. These films have been credited with changing National perceptions of the gas and oil industry in the United States and other countries now facing increasing gas and oil exploration.

Academy Award nominated 'GasLands' view trailer of the film here: http://www.gaslandthemovie.com/trailer/

Emmy Award winning 'Split Estate' http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bvT4PycSAPk

A Land Out of Time http://www.alandoutoftime.com/

(go to top of page)
'Collateral Damage' available at www.creatspace.com/3440980

Long time GVCA member Tara Meixsell's book chronicles Garfield County health and social impacts of gas development, and the valiant grassroots fight to effect political and legislative change of the gas and oil industry in the United States

A related novel, Henry’s Law, by Judy Jordan, is available on Amazon

Video links for the website (go to top of page)

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