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Commissioners approve drilling permit

Posted: Thursday, Feb 21st, 2013

DEL NORTE—Rio Grande County Commissioners approved a land use permit for First Liberty Energy, Inc. at their Feb. 13 meeting.

Commissioner Chairman Karla Shriver opened by explaining the procedures to be used during the meeting. Present were all three commissioners, Land Use Official Rose Vanderpool, County Attorney Bill Dunn, Special Attorney George Monsson and Attorney Karen Spaulding for First Liberty Energy, Inc.

A letter from FLE saying they agreed to case to the bottom of Conejos formation was added to the record.

Spaulding said the commissioners hard work is appreciated by everyone at FLE and that they “(desire) to be a good corporate neighbor, and respects the wishes of the county.”

Commissioner Pam Bricker said, “We appreciate the cooperation given by FLE. We understand casings will be 4,000 feet, plus 200 feet, according to what was submitted.”

Spaulding said, “They (the casings) will go 200 feet below the formation, whatever depth that is, as it is not known.”

Shriver asked if a dry run would be considered and Spaulding said that Scott Peterson, and the other site supervisors, welcome everyone to see the rig, the layout, and raise any safety issues at that time. “People will be living on site until the well is drilled,” she said.  In the meantime she reminded the commissioners that Peterson has a 24-hour contact number and can answer any questions that may come up.

Doug Davie said, “Looking all materials over, and the responses regarding county services and the testimony given, I think something good can come.” He then made the motion to approve FLE’s application request with the following conditions: FLE must have regular communication with the road and bridge department and inform them of any work being done 24 hours prior; during periods of wet weather the use of roads could be restricted; permits for overweight loads are to be obtained, and the recommendations of the road and bridge department will be adhered to. Additionally, there will be planning manager compliance, any spills are to be reported to the emergency planning manager or his constituents, all who have 24-hour numbers, all contractors will provide insurance policy copies prior to operations, notification to be made of water sampling schedule.

The company will record intent to dig with the Colorado Call Before You Dig program with accurate specifications and make notification to them regarding any flow lines or abandoned lines. FLE will follow county recommendations, especially having casing depth below formation. All contractors and sub-contractors will use only closed loop drilling.

Commissioners Shriver and Davie voted to approve the conditional use application. Commissioner Bricker abstained due to a personal decision. She said, “She appreciates the cooperation of FLE, but as newest member on the commissioner board, and the serious nature of this issue, I am not feeling prepared enough to vote one way or the other.”

After the vote was completed, audience member Joe Mellott said, “It is the responsibility of paid officials to render an opinion, and not to abstain from making a decision.”

Vern Rominger commented that the Conejos formation is 4,600 feet at the location in question, and asked what depth would they case? Monsson reiterated that FLE said they would case 200 feet below the base of the formation. He said “There will be two layers of steel and two layers of concrete to 200 feet below the base of the Conejos formation.”

Shriver said, “We appreciate their trying to be good stewards of the formation. And we hope to keep good communications, because when you don’t talk, you have problems.”

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