The Glen Canyon Institute has a new website

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Say hello to the shiny new Glen Canyon Institute website. They’re working tirelessly to decommission Glen Canyon Dam and restore the reach of the Colorado River from Cataract Canyon to Lake Mead.

More Colorado River basin coverage here.

Gothic shale play in Southwestern Colorado is in the early stages of leasing, conservationists are using the lull in activity to plan

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From the Cortez Journal (Nathalie Winch):

“I think it’s possible to have natural gas development and to do it right,” [San Juan Citizens Alliance’s leader Jimbo Buickerood] said. “I think it can be a helpful economic drive. I think we can protect the water and the air quality and wildlife values and take good care of resources, if there’s adequate structure and integrity to the plan the agency puts together.”

Buickerood supports a master leasing plan in order to make this happen. Ideally, he’d like everyone at the table for discussion, including the energy developers, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, citizens, environmentalists, etc.

A portion of the plan suggests fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, through shale within Dolores and Montezuma counties.

The public has until Nov. 25 to comment on this plan. Comments should be mailed to comments-planrevision-sanjuan@fs.fed.us or SJPL Supplement Comments, Attn: Shannon Manfredi, 15 Burnett Court, Durango, CO, 81301-4216, or faxed to (970) 375-2331.

More oil and gas coverage here and here.

Public scoping begins on Paradox Valley salinity control projects, scoping meetings announced

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Here’s the release from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Terry Stroh/Justyn Hock):

Reclamation announced today that it will hold public scoping meetings concerning the Paradox Valley Salinity Control Unit, located near Bedrock, Colo. The meetings will be held 1) in Paradox, Colo. at the Paradox Community Center, 21665 6.00 Road on December 6, 2011 with a presentation at 6 p.m. and an open house from 5 to 7 p.m. and 2) in Montrose, Colo. at the Holiday Inn Express, 1391 S Townsend Ave, on December 8, with a presentation at 6 p.m., followed by a question and answer session.

Historically, the Dolores River picked up an estimated 205,000 tons of salt annually as it passed through the Paradox Valley. Since the mid-1990’s much of this salt has been collected by shallow wells and then injected into deep subsurface geologic formations. The deep well injection program has removed about 110,000 tons of salt annually from the Dolores and Colorado rivers.

The existing deep well injection facility may be approaching the end of its useful life and alternatives are being considered to continue the successful efforts to prevent salt from entering the river. One initial alternative is to collect brine from shallow wells along the Dolores River and evaporate the brine and encapsulate the produced salts in surface evaporation ponds. The Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Forum, representing the seven basin states, has recommended that an evaporation pond pilot study be conducted in order to better evaluate potential future large scale evaporation ponds as an alternative to deep well injection.

Reclamation will host public scoping meetings to discuss the pilot study. The project will be described and questions will be answered at the meetings; comments may be provided at the scoping meeting, emailed to tstroh@usbr.gov or mailed to Bureau of Reclamation, 2764 Compass Drive, Suite 106, Grand Junction CO 81506.

More coverage from the Montrose Daily Press (Katharhynn Heidelberg):

The Bureau of Reclamation is seeking public input on whether to continue using deep-well injection methods to reduce salinity loads where the river flows through the Paradox Valley, or to consider evaporative ponds. The evap ponds are among alternatives BuRec is considering to prevent salt from entering the river, and area scoping meetings are slated in Montrose County for next month (see below for details).

More Dolores River watershed coverage here.

Pitkin, Delta, Routt and San Miguel county commissioners and Boulder County Public Health officials all provide hydraulic fracturing comments to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission

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From the Associated Press (Catharine Tsai) via The Denver Post. From the article:

In written comments submitted before a deadline Friday, Pitkin County commissioners pushed for full disclosure of all chemicals used in fracturing, not just the nonproprietary ones. Gunnison County Democrats, Citizens for Huerfano County and others have criticized the rule for protecting trade secrets rather than requiring full disclosure…

County commissioners for Delta, Routt and San Miguel counties and Boulder County Public Health officials said the rule should clarify how operators declare something to be a trade secret.

And companies should be held responsible for inaccurate or incomplete information, county commissioners in Pitkin and Routt counties said. Operators have said they shouldn’t be held responsible for inaccurate information provided by third-party vendors…

Delta County commissioners praised a provision that would have companies provide 48 hours’ notice of fracking activity but requested that local authorities be notified too.

Routt County commissioners requested that the rule also apply to fracking by non-liquid means, because at least one company has used technology involving fracking using butane and propane in gel form.

San Miguel County commissioners and Boulder County health officials are among those pushing for disclosures to be posted directly on the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission website rather than http://www.FracFocus.org.

More oil and gas coverage here and here.

There are differing opinions to be found in eastern and western Wyoming counties with respect to the Flaming Gorge Pipeline

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From WyoFile (Allen Best):

Yet the idea of a pipeline has a certain allure in Torrington, Cheyenne, and in Laramie County, each of which has chipped in $25,000 as members of the Colorado/Wyoming Coalition, a rival to Million’s plan.

“If someone is going to provide water through a pipeline near our water system, we are going to be interested,” says Tim Wilson, director of the Cheyenne Board of Public Utilities.

The Cheyenne urban area, with 70,000 people, has sufficient water to meet growth during the next 15 to 25 years, Wilson says. Most of the city’s water comes from snowmelt in streams west of the city, including some water from the Colorado River headwaters near the Colorado-Wyoming border, with water brought through a tunnel and then an exchange of rights.

Cheyenne’s Wilson says many unanswered questions remain about a possible new supply piped in from Flaming Gorge, including the costs and the water rights.

Laramie County has a similar position. “If, in fact, there is additional (Colorado River) Compact water, and it can be brought into Laramie County, we want to tap into that,” says Gary Kranse, planning director. Almost exclusively dependent on groundwater, the county wants more diversity of supplies as population growth continues.

Torrington, population 6,000, is also at the prospective pipeline table. City engineer Bob Juve says conservation and efficiency measures have dampened demand in Torrington 30 percent, with more savings possible. But with the city growing 1 percent annually, those savings will have been exhausted in a few decades. And the North Platte River, which flows through the town, is already spoken for. Nebraska and Wyoming in 2001 signed a legal settlement that reaffirmed the longstanding arrangement that majority of the water in the river goes to Nebraska. A current expansion of the Pathfinder reservoir west of Casper, however, will allow some future new water supplies from the river for Wyoming communities along the Platte, along with some water to sustain whooping cranes, least terns and other endangered species downstream in Nebraska.

Supporting a Flaming Gorge pipeline has not, Juve acknowledges, made him popular in Southwestern Wyoming. He’s OK with that. “I don’t mind fighting with anybody, but I first want to know what we’re fighting about,” he says. “We are not trying to be adversarial with people in Sweetwater County. Obviously, they have interests that they have not fully defined yet.”

More Flaming Gorge pipeline coverage here and here.

Noble joins Anadarko with exploration plans in the Wattenberg Field, they plan to pony up $1 to $1.5 billion

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From The Denver Business Journal (Cathy Proctor):

Noble plans to invest $8 billion over the next five years in the Denver-Julesburg Basin, an area that includes northern Colorado and southern Wyoming, said Ted Brown, Noble’s Denver-based senior vice president in charge of its northern region operations, which includes Colorado.

In the Wattenberg area of the play, “it will be $1 billion to $1.5 billion a year,” Brown said in an interview Wednesday…

Noble said it think its can get 1.3 billion barrels of oil from its 840,000 net acres of mineral rights in the Wattenberg. The company said its wells in the area are currently producing oil and natural gas equivalent to 67,000 barrels of oil per day, and expects production to double by 2016.

More oil and gas coverage here and here.