May 1, 2012


Horizontal Drilling and Road Damage Described in
Harper County

The April 2012 Kansas Association of County's “County Comment” news-letter included a short article written by Norm Bowers, Local Road Engineer. It describes a visit to Harper County to see four horizontal drilling rigs at one site. Oil and gas drilling permits are handled through the state, and the county was not notified in advance. This drilling site consists of a level area of about 4 acres. Two to three feet of shale is hauled in and topped with one foot of crushed rock. 1,200 semi loads were required.

The 'fracking' takes about 2 million gallons of water which is the equivalent of 300 tanker loads. It takes over 2,000 truckloads of material and equipment for one drilling site. There are few county roads that can handle 2,000 truckloads without substantial damage.

Harper County has taken the position that they will not fix or repair roads so the drilling companies can get to their sites. That works well where the road is not a school bus route and people do not live on the mile. If drilling occurs in counties with a blacktop road network, they can expect damage to the blacktops.

In Harper County most of the water has been purchased from farm ponds. Harper County has allowed the drilling company to place pipe in the road ditch for a fee. The county has just hired a codes enforcement officer to handle all the utility permits and to observe and document damage to the roads. Mr. Bowers ends the article with essential steps that should be taken in advance by a county. For more, go to:

Insect Experts Issue Warnings About GM Corn

Twenty-two scientists recently sent the U.S. EPA a letter warning of problems resulting from the Western corn rootworm becoming resistant to the Cry3Bb1 protein in genetically modified corn. The scientists recom-mended a system of integrated pest management- including planting non-GMO corn- as a way to address the resistance problem. 

Discoveries of corn rootworm resistance problems were first published in 2011 in Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska, Minnesota, and North and South Dakota.Several reasons for the resistance are cited including farmers planting Bt corn year after year, inadequate refuge areas of non-GMO corn to prevent resistance, and planting Bt corn where there is no insect pressure.

The scientists wrote that it is not possible to rely on one single method of pest control in the long term. They recommended that farmers plant non-GMO corn varieties as part of a system of integrated pest management that includes crop rotations. However, they also reported that many farmers have increasing difficulty obtaining non-GMO seed for planting.  (From: Non-GMO Reporter April 2012)

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