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Presco progress tabled

by Larry Patrick

HUERFANO- The Huerfano County Planning Commission tabled any decision on the request by Presco to move forward with drilling in the county. Another meeting will be held on May 27 so the planning commission can consider the matter and get clarifications from the attorneys for both sides on agreements.

    The county had put forth 25 things they wanted to have Presco agree to before putting their stamp of approval on such a project.  Presco official, Richard Ellis and his attorney, Ken Wonstolen said they had real issues with only 3 of the 25. They dealt with issues on noise, setbacks and the pits. The other county concerns they felt were covered in the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) rules and regulations.  Presco’s reps said they would go along with having the county include those concerns in their resolution as long as they were not trying to establish separate enforcement regulations from what the COGCC already has in place.

    The meeting was cordial in nature with both sides stating concerns and positions to move the project forward.  Commission member, Larry Mapes expressed his concerns by stating he was an ardent defender of property rights and water.  Mapes was concerned with the millions of gallons of water that would be used by Presco in a county that has to always be concerned about water availability.  Mapes says he can’t understand why rules allow for taking such large amounts of water that could deplete the supplies. He said, “We can’t do this over. When the water is gone, it’s gone.”  Mapes says he agrees that we need revenue for the county that the Presco project would bring but questioned, “at what cost?”

    Presco officials seemed open to the idea of allowing some independent party to do impact monitoring of the area.  County administrator, John Galusha felt someone could do it for 4 hours per week at $20 per hour.  It would give a heads up to any concerns that could arise before the COGCC might find problems.

    Commission member, Max Vezzani told the Presco officials that, the county doesn’t want to look over their shoulder on drilling projects but to look over the land resource protections.  Commission member, Dale Davis then made the motion to table the matter until May 27 to give both sides time to consider the ideas and suggestions presented and to decide what they want to include in any recommendations to move forward on the Presco drilling proposals.