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Water Blog

A blog that focuses on legal developments affecting the water community in Colorado and other western states.  We also post news about water rights, water quality, and natural resources.  If you have a suggestion for a post, please contact us.

  

COGCC releases new groundwater testing rules

Posted March 1, 2013

The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission recently released new rules that attempt to respond to public demand for safer hydraulic fracturing (fracking) operations associated with oil and gas development in Colorado.  The final rules have been under attack from all sides, with environmental and municipal interests concerned that there is not enough protection, while industry laments new requirements as burdensome.

Under the new rules, initial baseline samples and subsequent monitoring samples are to be collected from a maximum of four sites within a one-half mile radius of a proposed oil and gas well.  The new rules require sampling from all “Available Water Sources,” but there are several exceptions.  For example, if more than four “Available Water Sources” are within a half-mile radius of the oil and gas well, the operator has the discretion to choose where to take samples.  The decision is based on a range of factors: proximity to the oil and gas well, types of water sources, orientation of the sampling location relative to flow, and “preferred” aquifer depth.  As a result, some aquifers may not be sampled even though they are penetrated by an oil and gas well.  The rules require testing for a list of contaminants at each well.  However, the list of contaminants for which water samples will be tested excludes a number of chemicals regularly used in fracking fluid.       

Some Colorado groundwater users are concerned that the monitoring will not be thorough enough to catch contamination before their water supply is polluted.  At the same time, industrial representatives contend that fracking presents a low risk to drinking water aquifers and any monitoring is excessive because of the way oil and gas wells are constructed to prevent this type of contamination.  In spite of the controversy regarding the rules, Colorado is ahead of many other states in requiring this level of monitoring for fracking regulations.  Read COGCC’s new rules here.


Welcome to the new White & Jankowski, LLP website

Posted February 19, 2013

Welcome to White & Jankowski’s new website!  We are excited to launch our blog and show you our new site design.  The blog will focus on legal developments affecting the water community in Colorado and other western states.  It will also include news about water, natural resources and our firm. 

To learn more about our firm visit some of the different areas of our website listed above. To read more news and updates about our firm and water law visit the Water Blog.


Grand County secures grant funding for whitewater park on Colorado River

Posted February 8, 2013

On January 29, 2013 the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) approved Grand County’s application to fund a portion of the County’s planned Gore Canyon Whitewater Park at Pumphouse on the Colorado River in the amount of $500,000.  Grand County has already invested matching funds and will also make additional investments to the project.  The Whitewater Park will include in-channel structures that will provide “park and play” recreational opportunities and attract boaters and spectators to promote tourism, new jobs and boost the local economy.  The County is in the process of adjudicating a recreational in channel diversion water right (RICD) for the Whitewater Park.  A water right for the Whitewater Park—which will be the first RICD water right on the Colorado mainstem—is an important component of implementing the Colorado River Cooperative Agreement.  An RICD water right provides protection to water in a flowing stream to be used for non-motorized boating recreation, and is essential to both protecting the County’s investment in the Whitewater Park and preserving its priority under Colorado law.  The County has worked closely with the CWCB and local water users to ensure that concerns regarding the Whitewater Park and its water rights are addressed, and has been successful in this collaborative approach to securing broad support for the project.  The CWCB’s grant of funding of this rural, recreational project demonstrates the CWCB’s commitment to supporting non-consumptive beneficial use projects in Colorado.


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