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Water group sends clear message about oil drilling

Posted: Wednesday, Sep 11th, 2013

Courier editor

MANASSA — Water leaders voted yesterday to urge Rio Grande County Commissioners to adopt recommendations from a hydrogeological study as part of the county’s oil and gas regulations.

The county will hold a hearing on proposed revisions to its oil/gas regulations on September 25.

To view the regulations and proposed revisions, see www.riograndecounty.org/departments/land-use

The Rio Grande Roundtable, a Valley-wide water group representing various entities and interests, funded the hydrogeological study last year to help Rio Grande County deal with applications for oil/gas exploration and potential effects on the water table. Davis Engineering, GeoLogical Solutions and HRS Water Consultants developed the study.

Roundtable member Charles Spielman told the group during its Tuesday meeting in Manassa that he understood the county planned to reference the study in its regulations, but he believed it needed to do more than that.

“I believe that’s not enough,” he said.

If the county did not have authority to enforce the guidelines from the study, those recommendations should be advanced to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, Spielman added.

Specifically, Spielman recommended that: oil and gas drillers should be required to set and cement casings at least as deep as domestic or irrigation wells within 1.5 miles of an oil/gas well; and case entirely through the Conejos formation or demonstrate the water quality would be protected without doing so.

For the complete article see the 09-11-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 09-11-2013 paper.

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