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401 Meeker St Delta CO 81416 970.874.4421

Gunnison Energy's plans raise alarms

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Dear Editor:

The alarming article in the March 3, Grand Junction Sentinel, "Revised Gunnison [Energy] plan uses vast amount of water," should be a wake-up call to all who have watched Paonia and the surrounding area grow in the wake of closing down coal mining in the area. Paonia residents have seen the interest in farming and careful use of water and natural resources contribute to tourism and a growing economy.

Number one alarm is the increased use of truck traffic on Highway 133 -- a narrow two-lane highway with many curves, many stretches that have no shoulder but have steep embankments, plus a large population of deer. Forty-two round trips a day to haul water and 47 round trips a day to haul sand will put a tremendous strain on this highway and on the people who use it daily to get to work and go about their daily lives. The number of fatal highway accidents in Delta County has gone down since 2013 when the mines closed.

Number two alarm is "the total water requirement for each well would rise to more than 522,000 barrels, when accounting for other purposes including drilling the well and dust abatement." Those who are familiar with the current water situation in Paonia, where residents need to go to town hall to get the five-gallon bucket of water to flush their toilets, must be wondering where this tremendous amount of water is coming from.

Number three alarm -- TOURISM -- all that has been done to promote tourism in Delta County will go down the drain along with our fracked water. Who wants to drive scenic Highway 133 when water and sand trucks obstruct the view. Paonia obtained Colorado support for our creative district, but how creative is being in a traffic jam?

Number four alarm is the larger question. What is the consequence of fracking to our underground water system? What happens to our infrastructure when earthquakes are caused by the fracking?

I have read that this would employ an estimated 122 workers. Does anyone really believe any of these people will be from Delta County. Our elected county officials are enabling Gunnison County to go forward on a project that based on my knowledge from other similar projects that have gone forward in the chase of greed could totally compromise our water supply.

Margaret Engel

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