GARCO THREATENS TO SUE STATE
Glenwood Springs—Garfield County is prepared to take the state of Colorado to court over insurance rates and the alleged misuse of county sales tax revenue. The Board of Commissioners directed County Attorney Frank Huftless to notify the Division of Insurance of the intent to file a lawsuit if nothing is done to adjust the insurance rating that has Garfield County ranked among the highest in the nation. Commissioner Tom Jankovsky calls the rating system under the Affordable Care Act “discriminatory.” State officials say they won’t consider making adjustments or changes until sometime in 2016. In addition, the county is filing a complaint and threatening legal action over the state using Garfield County sales tax revenue to pay for a judgement against the state in a lawsuit. Huftless says the state money grab is an outrage because the suit had nothing to do with Garfield County.
WEST DIVIDE CREEK SEEP REPORT WRAPPED UP, NO FURTHER STUDIES PLANNED
Glenwood Springs—It’s been nearly a decade since a gas seep was discovered in West Divide Creek. According to renowned geologist Dr. Geoffrey Thyne, no additional seeps have been detected in the area. Dr. Thyne was contracted by Garfield County to conduct three studies of the West Divide and Mamm Creek gasfields after the seep was first discovered in the spring of 2004. Encana Oil and Gas never admitted wrongdoing but agreed to pay a fine of over 371 thousand dollars imposed by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. Dr. Thyne delivered his final report yesterday to the Board of County Commissioners and concluded that any traces of methane or other chemicals bubbling to the surface are natural occurrences. He says monitoring is recommended but a fourth study of the area is unwarranted.
PICEANCE DRILLING ACTIVITY TO INCREASE
GRAND JUNCTION—WPX Energy says it plans to spend millions of dollars to increase the number of wells on the Western Slope. Company officials say they plan to operate an average of two more drilling rigs in the Piceance Basin. That would boost its local total to nine at a time when very little drilling is occurring in the region. The move could increase the company’s annual Piceance capital expenditure by about $100 million, to nearly a half-billion dollars. About $75 million will go toward the drilling exploratory wells in the region, where initial WPX wells have been highly productive.