Steamboat Springs — The unfolding tension between Routt County officials and Quicksilver Resources regarding its plans to drill exploratory oil wells here figures to be a debating point and perhaps a differentiator in the races for county commissioner Districts 1 and 2 this fall.
The local debate centers on pre-emption — the legal concept that, in this case, state law trumps local regulations.
County commissioner District 1, primarily comprising South Routt County, pits Democrat Tim Corrigan against Republican Jim “Moose” Barrows. The winner will fill Nancy Stahoviak’s seat. In District 2, Democratic incumbent Doug Monger faces a challenge from Republican Tina Kyprios.
The commissioners voted, 3-0, on Tuesday to approve Quicksilver’s permit to drill the Camilletti Well on private land about a mile north of Milner, and in so doing included a condition of approval requiring Quicksilver to also drill a water-quality monitoring well. The intent is to safeguard 39 domestic water wells down-gradient from the well pad.
Thom Kerr, acting director of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, “strongly encouraged” the commissioners not to attach the water testing well to their approval, adding that it would usurp his agency’s statutory authority to regulate the technical aspects of oil and gas development. MORE …