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Wells raise questions

My SideBrett Morrison

There has been much talk lately as to what we should do with the fine from Encana for tainting the groundwater up Divide Creek. Maybe we should use this money to clean up the mess being created there or invested to use for this purpose in the future. What we may have going on is the modern-day equivalent of a Superfund cleanup site. Forty years from now, after EnCana and other drilling companies have pulverized the layer of bedrock between the surface and the gas deposits, there may never be the ability to extract potable water from any aquifer there. In fact $371,200 seems like a slap on the hand compared to what the cleanup cost could possibly be to return this area to its original condition.Colorado is littered with watershed drainages dead from the toxins and poisons of previous mining operations, with cleanup costs that can’t even be touched with $371,000.A few weeks ago I saw a column on what we should expect from a candidate in the election. I would like to see a candidate willing to change specific national mineral right laws so that all mineral rights are transferred, all the time, to the current owners of any property. This would make the present owners the stewards of the land instead of absentee owners. Who, in some instances, have never even seen the property in question. There is no reason why this shouldn’t happen, except original homesteaders, who no longer were financially able to hang on to their large tracts of land, greedily felt the need to hang on to any future promise their land held. And early politicians had the power to accommodate their wishes.Secondly, Colorado mineral laws give a priority to anything under the surface, and the mining of such, over anything that might be happening on the surface. I would like a candidate that would challenge the Colorado state mineral acts so that people who care about where they are can make the decisions involved regarding their property. All of us know somebody who has bought their dream lot only to have a gas well show up in their front yard.And last I would like to see laws made that would force major drilling companies to escrow a percentage of their gross income. They would receive this money only after all drilling sites have been approved safe by the state. This would prevent companies from taking all of the resource desired and then neglecting their responsibility to clean up the mess. Instances of this have happened often. Southern Colorado has multiple sites where Canadian companies have come in, mined, drilled, reaped and destroyed the environment and then declared bankruptcy when it comes to the cleanup. One of these companies was even given Colorado mining permits three years after declaring bankruptcy.I don’t know if these are all the right answers but it would help to divert future fiascoes like what is happening up on Divide Creek.Brett Morrison is a true valley native, born in Glenwood Springs in 1961. He works as a graphic designer for Blizzard Internet Marketing Inc. and does freelance illustration.Brett Morrison is a true valley native, born in Glenwood Springs in 1961. He works as a graphic designer for Blizzard Internet Marketing Inc. and does freelance illustration.


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