Aspen firm files class-action suit against Antero

By David O. Williams
Real AspenJuly 21, 2011

An Aspen law firm filed a class-action lawsuit against Denver-based Antero Resources late Wednesday on behalf of the 5,000 residents of Battlement Mesa, an unincorporated community along Interstate 70 in Garfield County.

The firm of Thomas Genshaft names six specific Battlement Mesa residents as plaintiffs, seeks a jury trial and alleges Antero’s current and future drilling activities “threaten the health and well being” of the residents of the former Exxon oil shale company town turned retirement community, according to the Glenwood Springs Post Independent.

Earlier this month, Real Aspen, along with the Colorado Independent, revealed Antero had been disposing of oil and gas drilling waste in Eagle County. Now the energy exploration company is being hit with legal action stemming from drilling activities in neighboring Garfield County.

This is the second lawsuit the Aspen-based Genshaft firm filed in Denver District Court. It previously sued Antero on behalf of a Silt Mesa family alleging drilling contamination chased them off their property.

Battlement Mesa

That suit was filed in conjunction with Genshaft’s New York City partner, Napoli Bern Ripka and Associates – the firm that won huge awards in a class action suit against the city stemming from health risks associated with the World Trade Center cleanup.

Battlement Mesa residents have long accused Garfield County of failing to protect their health and welfare and promised not to give up in the wake of the county pulling the plug on its controversial Health Impact Assessment earlier this year.

Antero is the only company utilizing the nearby Eagle County Landfill to dispose of oil and gas drilling waste. The county is now “moving away” from accepting contaminated soils and the county commissioners will have the ultimate say if Antero or any other operator seeks to dispose of pit liners, which were banned in Garfield County in 2009 because of toxic contaminants.

All contaminated soils and other drilling waste from Antero have been tested according to strict state health and environmental standards, according to Eagle County officials.


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