by Bill Knowles
WALSENBURG — County Administrator John Galusha recently returned from a trip to Shanghai, China where he was in pursuit of a business proposition that could bring a solar panel manufacturing firm to Huerfano County.
The Chinese firm, Duyi Manufacturing, is considering building a plant in the county that would employ 10 workers at the start.
Also another firm, Shoto Battery, is involved with the project and would manufacture rechargeable batteries. The rechargeable batteries would require the use of rare earth metals such as lithium or nickel cadmium.
Duyi is also asking for farmland in order to grow food and have a commercial well and solar greenhouses. “It was a very interesting trip,” Galusha said.
The Board of Huerfano County Commissioners heard from the Citizens for Huerfano County during their regular meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 23.
The CHC voiced its desire to work with the county on possible new regulations which would help mitigate impacts that might arise from oil and gas operations in the county.
In her presentation, Sandy Borthick, vice president of the CHC, said that the organization could help by contacting “the appropriate officials at the state and federal levels to insist that, knowing what we know from the experience of others, we simply cannot let oil and gas development in this county go ahead without accurate baselines of our geological hazards, our air quality, our water quantity and the quality [of] our health?”
She continued, “Might CHC be able to help, with the BOCC’s endorsement, by seeking grant money to do these important baseline studies? Working together, we might make Huerfano County a model of safe and responsible development rather than another industrial sacrifice zone.”
The county commissioners took the material the CHC handed out and included the presentation in the public record.
CHC president Keli Kringel was also present at the meeting. She asked when the county commission would consider upgrading regulations on oil and gas operations.
Commission chair Scott King said the commission had not committed itself to upgrading the regulations. What had been decided during an October meeting with the planning and zoning commission was a recommendation that any further amendments to the Oil and Gas Land Use regulations would be sent to former La Plata County Attorney Jeff Robbins for review. The county hasn’t yet hired Robbins.
In other business, Al Tucker, a Majors Ranch subdivision property owner, approached the BOCC requesting that a United States Geological Survey on ground water in the county be reinitialized. The survey had been considered in 2009 on the heels of the problems the county encountered with Petroglyph and its coal bed methane operations.
The new study costs around $208,000 and would update a previous study conducted several years ago. Funds for the study would be requested through Senator Mark Udall’s office.
The suggestion was accepted by the county commission and the county administrator was instructed by the commission to begin pursuing the funding.
by Mark Craddock LA VETA — The La Veta Town Board and the La Veta RE-2 School District have successfully mediated an amended annexation agreement for