Local natural gas reaches
The value of Colorado's fuel and
mineral wealth rose dramatically in 2003, and natural gas
extraction in La Plata County played a significant part. According
to a report by the Colorado Geological Survey, Colorado's fuel and
mining industries produced $6.05 billion in raw materials last
year. That number is up 49 percent over 2002, and increased prices
and higher production are responsible.
Jim Cappa, chief of the
Mineral and Mineral Fuels Section of the Colorado Geological
Survey, explained what was measured in the recent study. "The
report measures the total value of the 2003 production of base and
precious metals, construction materials, industrial minerals, coal,
oil, natural gas, and carbon dioxide in Colorado."
Cappa said higher prices
for oil, gas, gold and molybdenum were the biggest factors in the
increase. However, Vince Matthews, Colorado Geological Survey
director, added that 2003 was also a record production year for
natural gas. With La Plata County supplying approximately 80
percent of the state's natural gas, it is clear that local wells
were working overtime.
Putting a spin on the
figures, Matthews said that the high production shows high demand
for cleaner burning fuels.
"The year 2003 was a
record production year for coal and natural gas," he said. "This
demonstrates the increasing demand for Colorado's abundant
clean-fuel resources of natural gas and coal that is low in sulfur,
mercury and ash."
Cappa noted that the
graph for natural gas peaked sharply last year. "The total amount
of gas produced was incredible. We saw over a trillion cubic feet,
and half of that is coalbed methane."
Cappa said the expects
the numbers to continue to rise.
"It's really on a steep
curve going up, and that will undoubtedly continue," he said. "As
you know, more and more wells are being drilled all the
Hardrock Hundred lives up to
Helped by perfect weather, the
Hardrock Hundred Endurance Run turned in one of its most successful
seasons ever. On July 9-11, a total of 80 runners successfully
covered the 100 miles and 33,000 feet of vertical surrounding
Silverton to kiss the Hardrock before the 48-hour cut-off.
Forty-five entries either dropped out or failed to make the
From the get-go, a quick
pace was set and several of the early leaders were forced to drop
out because of fatigue. However, the race came down to the final
leg, where Paul Sweeny, of California, beat the average leader's
split by nearly an hour and overtook leader Giselher Schneider to
win the race in 30 hours and 39 minutes. Betsy Kalmeyer was the
first woman finisher, posting a time of 32 hours and 48 minutes. In
addition, Kirk Apt, who finished fourth, and Ulli Kamm were honored
for being the first two to achieve 10 Hardrock finishes.
Apt, of Crested Butte,
was typically stoic about the achievement, saying, "The course fits
my strengths. It's a climber's course. Unless you're a really good
climber, it crushes you."
Durangoans Keith Baker,
Chris Nute and Odin Christensen finished the race in 25th, 27th and
New HD Mountains meetings
More than 200 people packed into the
Bayfield High School cafetorium on July 14 and most of them spoke
out against drilling in the HD Mountains. The meeting was slated as
the only opportunity for the public to have oral comments
introduced into the record. However, three new meetings have been
added which will allow members of the public to have oral comments
introduced into the public record.
The Forest Service and
Bureau of Land Management are currently studying a preferred
alternative for 273 new natural gas wells in the region.
Twenty-five directional wells would be placed inside the HD
Mountains Roadless Area. Conservationists and residents charge that
these gas wells would threaten stands of old-growth ponderosa pine,
abundant wildlife and the very health and safety of their homes and
families. The proposal would also put 60 miles of new roads into a
designated roadless area.
In the interest of
gauging as much public input as possible, three new public hearings
have been added to the slate. Concerned citizens will now be able
to submit oral or written comments into the public record at the
Wednesday, Aug. 11, from 6-9 p.m. at
the Bayfield High School Cafetorium
Tuesday, Aug. 17, from 6-9 p.m. at the
Archuleta County Fairgrounds in Pagosa Springs
Thursday, Aug., 19 from 6-9 p.m. at
the San Juan Public Lands Center in Durango
People are also
encouraged to submit written comments through Sept. 13. For more
information, call 247-4874 or log onto www.nsjb-eis.org.
Local cat tests positive for
Add bubonic plague to the list of
diseases that Durango residents face. A domestic cat found last
Sunday near the Junction Creek Campground on the Colorado Trail has
tested positive for bubonic plague.It was trapped and brought to
a local veterinary clinic for testing, and no humans have been
The San Juan Basin
Health Department said that people should not be alarmed. Plague
has historically been reported throughout the western United States
and most human cases have been isolated or in small clusters.
Additionally, human plague is usually associated with infections in
ground squirrels, prairie dogs and other wild rodents and
isusually transmitted by bites of infected rodent
However, people should
exercise caution. To prevent human plague infection, do not feed or
entice any rodent, rabbit or squirrel.Avoid contact with sick
and dead rodents, prairie dogs, squirrels, rabbits and feral cats.
And try to protect yourself and your pets from exposure to
Typical symptoms of
human plague include swollen lymph nodes, fever or chills,
headache, muscle aches, nausea and vomiting.Human plague can be
treated successfully if diagnosed early.For more information,
visit San Juan Basin Health Department's website,
Campbell focuses on post
Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, R-Colo.,
has introduced a bill that would designate the post office in
Ignacio as the "Leonard Burch Post Office Building," in honor of
the late Southern Ute tribal elder.
Leonard Burch was
chairman of the Tribal Council of the Southern Utes for more than
32 years and credited with helping bring his tribe out of
"Leonard had the rare ability to make other people believe in his
vision and work to achieve it.Leonard Burch's leadership went
beyond the tribe.He set an example for young people. It is a
fitting tribute that the postal facility in Ignacio be named after
a true warrior."
compiled by Will