Colorado Water
The health of our waters is the principal measure of how we live on the land. -- Luna Leopold

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

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Here's Part I of The Denver Post's series on coal-bed methane production and the produced water. From the article:

Today, on 37 lush, green acres, [ranch manager Chuck Larsen] is growing 3 to 4 tons a year of alfalfa irrigated with water pumped out of an underground coal seam. "Without the water, that field wouldn't be here," Larsen said. About 120 miles southeast of Larsen's spread, Ed Swartz is convinced coal-bed methane water isn't saving his ranch, but ruining it. In October 1999, Wildcat Creek, usually just a trickle, was swamped, flooding the Swartz Ranch with coal-bed methane water. "The water just kept running for over a year, and I noticed my trees started dying," Swartz said. "It was garbage water."[...]

Over the next eight years, up to 450,000 barrels of water a day are projected to be produced in southern Wyoming's Atlantic Rim Basin, where a major coal-bed methane reserve has been discovered. The federal government wants companies to reinject the water into the ground. [Wyoming sheep rancher Pat O'Toole] wants to gain control of the water and ship it down the nearby Colorado River to thirsty desert towns - a venture that could net a savvy water-rights holder millions of dollars...

In the past decade, as natural-gas prices have soared and new extraction techniques developed, there has been a surge of drilling for that methane gas.To get the gas, however, energy companies must first get rid of the water - lots of water. A single gas well in Wyoming's Powder River Basin produced about 4,326 gallons of water a day in 2005, according to U.S. Geological Survey research.

Read the whole article. They look at the environmental impacts good and bad. Out here, west of The 100th Meridian, we love a good irrigation story. Here's the Post's story about salinity in water and the effects on crops. Terrific job Post.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: 2008 Presidential Election

9:17:19 AM    

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Here's a look at the movement to overhaul the General Mining Law of 1872 from The Colorado Springs Gazette. From the article:

In the 1890s, when prospectors came from across the nation to Cripple Creek with gold nuggets in their eyes, the government sold them land for $5 an acre, and often less. A century later, when a mining company wanted land in Crested Butte -- a resort town where new homes go for $1 million -- it got the same bargain. That's because the law governing mineral mining on federal land hasn't changed significantly in 135 years. The General Mining Law of 1872, meant to help settle the West, still says miners can stake claims and buy public land at a price capped at $5 an acre, with no royalties, little environmental regulation and few options for federal agencies to deny their applications. This year, the Democrat-controlled Congress is taking aim at the law, an effort that has pitted lawmakers against the Bush administration and environmentalists against the mining industry.

Category: 2008 Presidential Election

8:54:40 AM    

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