Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Property owners appeal well sites

"Beth Sultemeier says she knows the U.S. needs to boost its supply of domestic oil and gas. She's not anti-drilling and wasn't opposed to Texas-based Approach Resources drilling an oil well on land her family owns in the mountains east of Tierra Amarilla. They own the mineral rights, she figured, and the company representative seemed nice on the phone.

But when she found out the company bulldozed a grove of aspen and a meadow in the family's favorite box canyon last fall to put in a well pad and an open, lined waste pit, she was shocked. "That's not where we had verbally agreed to put the well," Sultemeier said.

The company's handling of her family's land, she said, has made them the "poster family" for why other landowners in the area are suspicious of dealing with Approach Resources.

Property owners, including the Sultemeiers, are appealing four wells sites approved by the state Oil Conservation Division in the Tierra Amarilla area. A hearing on the appeal is scheduled for 9 a.m. Friday at the state Oil Conservation Division office.

Approach Resources of Fort Worth, Texas, which owns more than 90,000 acres of mineral leases in Rio Arriba County, is suing the county in U.S. District Court in an effort to stop Rio Arriba from enforcing a four-month moratorium imposed this spring. The county is expected to approve a new drilling ordinance in August.

However, Approach Resources contends the power to regulate mineral extractions lies with the state Oil Conservation Division." more>>>>

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