By Rick Sallinger

WESTMINSTER, Colo. (CBS4)– The company that had filed for a drilling permit under Standley Lake in Westminster has withdrawn its application.

Highlands Natural Resources announced on Thursday afternoon that it had withdrawn its application from the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission relating to Standley Lake.

(credit: CBS)

Many of those who live around Standley Lake were not thrilled with the idea of drilling beneath the lake.

Among them Charli Fant who told CBS4’s Rick Sallinger, “If they are going to rape and pillage our land you had better give back to the community.”

The lake provides drinking water for hundreds of thousands of people in Denver’s north and northwest suburbs.

Fant claimed it wasn’t worth the risk of drilling, “Standley Lake provides water for 300,000 in Thornton, Northglenn and Westminster. To me that doesn’t make it worth the risk for small profits for a London based foreign drilling company.”

The sight of a fire at a Weld County drilling site on Wednesday didn’t calm many fears or predictions.

(credit: CBS)

The application for fracking was made by Highlands Natural Resources. It caused a stir. By mid-afternoon Thursday, the company retreated, issuing a statement that it had withdrawn its drilling application.

Highlands Natural Resources CEO, Robert Price, released this statement, “Through the process of communicating with various stakeholders and upon further consideration of its development plans in Jefferson County, Highlands Natural Resources has withdrawn its drilling and spacing unit application, Form 2A, and all Applications for Permit to Drill from the COGCC (Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission) relating to Standley Lake.”

Brian Walker has a beautiful view of the lake right outside his back yard. He was among those fearful an oil and gas operation would bring noise and other problems.

While the withdrawal may include the state’s largest dog park, plans for drilling under Rocky Flats, the former nuclear weapons site, are still on.

That has neighbors like Walker worried, “If you are going to disturb it and especially underground I’m worried about the plutonium.”

The battle of Standley Lake may be over, but others may be yet to come.

The City of Westminster issued the following statement, “The City of Westminster is truly appreciative of the level of engagement we saw from our residents as they made their
concerns known to the COGCC. We also want to assure them that the city will always work to protect the interests of our citizens, our water supply and our open spaces.”

CBS4’s Rick Sallinger is a Peabody award winning reporter who has been with the station more than two decades doing hard news and investigative reporting. Follow him on Twitter @ricksallinger.


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