Energy policy — coalbed methane: La Plata County Informational meeting on the State Engineer’s new coalbed methane produced water rules tonight

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Here’s a recap of yesterday’s informational meeting, from Katie Burford writing for The Durango Herald. From the article:

State water officials were at Bayfield High School on Tuesday evening to provide information about a water case decided last year by the state Supreme Court and related to recently passed legislation. After nearly three hours of presenting and answering questions, more questions were still rolling in from the approximately 125 people in attendance. “I know people have a lot of concern,” said John Cyran, head of the water-resources unit at the state Attorney General’s office.

The most contentious issue at Tuesday’s meeting was a map released last month by the state Engineer’s Office showing where water is considered tributary – meaning it feeds into streams – and where it is not. Generally speaking, tributary wells were closer to the Fruitland Outcrop – where the lip of the San Juan Basin curves to the surface in an arch across La Plata County. Meanwhile, deeper wells farther out in the basin toward New Mexico were mostly nontributary…

State law gives nontributary water to both landowners and gas operators, so long as operators are using it specifically for mining. But only water court can grant either of them an adjudicated right to the water. The fact that gas companies are speaking up for the nontributary water by filing applications in water court had residents at the meeting asking if they should do the same. State officials said to have standing in the case, residents, too, must file for a right in court. Once they have a pending application before the court, they can file an objection, which is due by the end of the month. “You’ve got to show you’ve got a dog in this fight,” Cyran said.

Here’s the link to the proposed rules from the Colorado Division of Water Resources website.

More coalbed methane coverage here and here.

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