by Brian Orr
WALSENBURG- At the Presco public hearing on Mar. 24, Commissioner Roger Cain called for an additional meeting for any interested geologists to discuss the specifics of Presco’s drilling plans.
That meeting took place on Thursday, Mar. 27 in the Commissioners’ office. Richard Ellis, representing Presco, met with Cain (who is a professional water engineer), local geologists and and other interested citizens.
Maps soon covered every available surface as Ellis laid out the geologic history of Huerfano and Las Animas Counties. Drawing heavily on mining maps he obtained from the Pueblo Museum, he discussed the unusual subsurface hydrology of the Vermijo/Raton basin.
South of the Pictou mine (slightly south and west of Walsenburg) the coal mines had to run huge water pumps to stay ahead of the constant seepage. North of that however, in a roughly triangular area, the water levels decrease dramatically. “The long and short of it is the hydrology is different.” Ellis said.
The role the dikes play, both above ground and below is really an unknown. The question was asked, do the dikes act as barriers or conduits? The answer was probably both.
Ellis intimated that Presco was under a bigger microscope because of the misadventures of Petroglyph, which is drilling for methane throughout the River Ridge ranch area- south of the Pictou hydrology boundary. “There is an order of magnitude between south and north in the hydrologic boundary at Pictou,” Ellis said.
Cain acknowledged that people buying property in Huerfano County need to be informed that drilling may occur on their land if they don’t own the mineral rights