Helium drilling going on in Monticello area
Monticello City Council discussed their land lease that holds the water treatment plant, heard a report on Helium drilling potential in the area and decided to wait a week to decide on fireworks restrictions at their latest meeting.
At their June 14 meeting members of the Monticello City Council heard a report on the potential for helium drilling in San Juan County.
Heavy drilling just outside Eastland has piqued many local residents' interest. Tim Ryan of Four Corners Helium was able to answer some questions through a presentation.
“Through two and a half years worth of work with a big team, we actually think this area might be one of the best places in the country to drill for helium,” said Ryan.
While Ryan is Durango based, the company is composed of geoscientists around the nation with over 400 years of experience combined in this field of work. Over 9 million acres of land in the Colorado plateau has already been mapped out for the purpose of helium by Four Corners Helium.
If testing of the Eastland comes back with the results Four Corners Helium anticipates and hopes for, the $4 million dollar well drilling project will just be the start of the company's work in the San Juan County area.
“It’s gonna cost another two to three million to hook it up if our tests work,” said Ryan. “We’ve got $7 million in reserves that we've raised, and if this test is good we should have no problem raising more money.”
Four Corners Helium has gained access to this land through leasing. Results of the testing done near Eastland should be complete within the next few days if it’s not already complete. If results are positive, the company has 20 other locations lined out for drilling as well.
The Fire Chief recommends the city not have any firework restrictions within Monticello city limits, expressing his feelings that heavy restrictions put in place last summer were done prematurely.
If conditions don’t get any better or even worse by the time the celebrations come, the city could put emergency restrictions into place.
One concern councilwoman Kim Henderson expressed is the slim likelihood of these restrictions being followed after a sudden implementation.
“If people start seeing fireworks going off then it’s gonna be hard to reel that back in,” said Henderson.
The state of Utah already has a law in place that only allows fireworks to be lit two days before and after the Independence day and Pioneer day celebrations.
The council planned to make its final decision at the June 28 meeting.
The city’s water treatment plant is currently on BLM land and leased by the city.
Mayor Bayley Hedglin, City Manager Evan Bolt, and Public Works director Nate Langston are currently crafting a letter to the BLM to try and have a transfer of lands to the city. They hope to get support from Senator Mitt Romney and his office on the letter.
The city currently has a 100-year lease that just cost them $50. Complications with the archery and gun range as well as just having the security of owning the land the water plant is on is what is driving the city to pursue the transfer of land.
New landfill rates that saw a slight increase in costs for all who use it were rejected by the council. The council asked for a rewrite of the rates that saw people outside city limits taking more of a financial burden.
Complications surrounding the city pool continue as the planned power outage caused some issues with the new water boiler. However, the pool passed its safety test and is nearly fully staffed. The city is hoping to have the pool open by July 4.
Due to the equipment exceeding its expiration date, the volunteer firefighters will be receiving new fire-retardant jackets and the mainline fire truck will be getting new tires.
City noise restrictions were discussed by the council. Nothing was changed to the current restrictions in place, but the council asked for better enforcement of these restrictions.
Full-contact little league football will be returning to Monticello this coming August. The program will be run by Brian Robinson and Wyatt Holyoak. Flag football will still be offered by the city in September.
In efforts to better share gym time and resources, the city will be moving Jr. Jazz girls basketball from January to October.