RIO GRANDE COUNTYŚRio Grande County Commissioners are set to make a decision on whether or not they will issue a land use permit to First Liberty Energy Inc. today, Wednesday, Feb. 13.
Recently FLE announced that they will comply with recommendations made in a hydrology report created to examine the unique Conejos Formation and aquifer that exist where drilling would take place. Other recommendations were included in the report, which can be accessed in full on the Rio Grande County website.
Allen Davey of Davis Engineering Service said the report was aimed at protecting ground water, gaining a better understanding of the aquifer, collecting water quality information to be used in future comparisons and understanding the size and depth of the aquifer.
The formation and aquifer were originally created by volcanic activity, now, there are parts of that formation that extend down to 4,000 feet or more. Water in the aquifer can be found throughout the formation.
One of the most controversial recommendations from the extensive hydrology report was to require that drillers install casing down to 4,000 feet to avoid possibly contaminating the water in the aquifer during the drilling process. If the drillers were to use another method, known commonly as fracking,, the needs may be different. FLE has said that they do not have plans to frack in the area.
Once they examined the report, the Rio Grande County Commissioners sent a letter to the Colorado Oil and Gas Commission asking that the casing depth requirement be increased to 4,000 feet.
Further recommendations include continued testing and cooperation with oil and gas officials to ensure that mineral rights information is disclosed when drilling. They also suggest that the county work to implement water quality education in local schools.