Mesa County master plan serves as “road map” for energy development

Mesa County commissioners have adopted an energy master plan that inventories energy resources and guides the development of those resources.

“We believe we are one of the first counties in the country to have created a plan of this type and scope,” said Mesa County Commissioner Craig Meis. “Our plan is a straightforward road map for future energy development.”

The energy master plan identifies where energy resources are located in the county and details measures to avoid, minimize and mitigate the effects of energy development. “We have developed a clear and consistent policy to help guide responsible resource development,” Meis said.

The plan includes three components:

  • An energy atlas inventories energy resource in Mesa County. Maps identify the location of such resources as biomass, coal, natural gas, oil shale, solar, uranium and wind. The atlas also includes an analysis of factors that make energy development more difficult in certain parts of the county. The analysis takes into account such constraints as land-use considerations, natural hazards, visual impact, water and wildlife.
  • The Energy Policy Opportunity Map (EPOM) offers a publicly accessible online tool that allows users to locate energy resources, existing and proposed energy development facilities and areas that have been identified as sensitive to development. The map includes recommended actions to mitigate the potential effects of energy development on sensitive areas. The EPOM offers guidance to energy companies involved in resource exploration and development. Landowners also can use the map to identify potential energy related issues on their properties. Government agencies can use the map in reviewing permit applications.
  • An in-depth final report analyzed the county’s existing energy related policies and identified policies that need updating or revision as well proposed the creation of new policies. In part, the plan replaces county mineral extraction policies adopted in 1985. The final report also incorporated public comments submitted during the planning process addressing such issues as air quality, reclamation, renewable energy, traffic and water.

“These innovative tools make available to the public a huge amount of important information,” Meis said. “Now our residents, energy companies and local governments can easily access the information they need in order to make wise decisions about resource development.”