How Fracking Affects Las Animas County

Since Methane Gas Well Drilling has come to Las Animas County many have felt that it was the economic boom that Trinidad and the local area needed and it has been. But I have argued that while the Country needs Natural Gas it should not be at the expense of losing or polluting our precious ground water.

Southern Colorado, like so many communities in the Western states, was so pristine and untouched before the coalbed methane gas well drilling started here in the late 1990’s but all of that has changed. Even though the gas well drilling activity has slowed and almost come to a stop because of the current low prices the damage has been done. But we have not seen the end of the damage, it is only beginning.

In addition to the threat on our ground water our quiet county roads and communities have been turned into a commercial work zone with large heavy truck rig traffic and methane powered generators (i.e. eight cylinder motors outfitted to run on methane gas) running out in the open 24/7 on nearly every other 40 acre parcel in Las Animas County west of I-25. The beautiful quiet retreat that was once the pride of Las Animas County Colorado has disappeared.

Take a look at this screen shot from Google Earth. Do click on the image to see a larger version. Most all of the small circles that you see in this aerial screenshot that is roughly 6 miles wide by 4.5 miles high is a Gas Well site that has been fracked. Take a good look at think of the impact that has already been done to Las Animas County. And just image that with the current 80 acre spacing for gas wells that means a gas well every other 40 acre parcel. So if you don’t have a gas well on your 40 acre parcel you will have 4 wells next door.

A Goole Earth View of an area north of Weston in Las Animas County

Honestly the property owners of Las Animas County really have never had much of a voice about this issue I think because of the low population, but now that Fracking has come to areas like Pennsylvania and New York that are more populated they spreading the facts that we should be concerned about.

Check out this informative Video about Fracking and keep Las Animas County and everyone one of the currently drilled gas wells in mind and you will have an idea of the image and damage that has already been done to our ground water and quality of life.

One thing that was not mentioned in the video is about the millions of gallons of water that is removed from each gas well so that it will let the gas escape. The water in each gas well is pumped until it is removed and many of these gas wells are within our drinking water levels up to 1200 feet deep. But we are told that they are only removing water below our drinking water and this is simply not true.

One thing that you should know is that Las Animas County has no source of commerical wells or water to supply water to local residents. All water that is hauled in the County by local residents is from a Trinidad City water source. Trinidad has in the recent past put water restrictions on County residents and limited the number of people that could haul water.

And think about this for one minute…..if there is a lack of water for the City of Trinidad it is only natural to assume they will protect the City Residents and not the County Residents. The City of Trinidad owns the water rights for Monument Lake and North Lake where their water comes from and they will by all rights protect the city in case of a water shortage.

Not until there is more negative impact on our ground water and until such time as there is a water shortage for Trinidad will this entire issue be felt. I hope that we can open our eyes long before this happens and effect a change. We need to realize that our water is precious and limited….heck we all know that already but the impact of the gas well drilling is just not realized or is overlooked by the residents and County officials. How can we be so blind?

If there is no place for the Las Animas County residents to purchase water and their water wells have been either polluted or have gone dry from the removal of our ground water and the City of Trinidad puts a restriction on their water to outside the city water haulers just know that there is no other source of water.

We can not go to Walsenburg and buy water or any place else near by for that matter. And you can not purchase water from your neighbor from his Domestic Water Well. You can only purchase water from a Commercial water well and it would have to be an extremely good source of water. Las Animas County does not own a source of water!

Imagine the entire area of Las Animas County west of I-25 without ground water because that is our future unless we can change it. It feels like we will just sit idly by and watch it happen like we are doing now. Then it will be too late. We can’t ignore this any longer.

When will it stop? How will the damage ever be reversed? What will it take for us to take a stand to protect our beautiful paradise in Southern Colorado? The money and economics in a bad economy shouldn’t overrule our common sense. We have to protect our water and our future.