All I could do is laugh when I saw the photo on page A3 of the March 8 Post Independent.
Titled "Rig Move Stops Traffic," the photo confirmed my suspicion about the possibility of traffic issues related to Aztec's rig move. As a member of Garfield County's Community Counts, I received an email on Monday, March 4, notifying me of Aztec's rig move. The email indicated that they could not provide details about the move, which could start on Tuesday. I was concerned about where the rig move would take place because I had house guests driving to Grand Junction that day.
Kirby Winn, Garfield County oil and gas liaison, responded to my request for more details on the rig move. He was not able to answer my question about when and where the Aztec rig would be traveling, and informed me that the operators are not required to provide this information to the public. He reassured me that when moving rigs, operators follow legal highway procedures, using pilot cars.
I appreciate his timely response to my concern, but am disappointed that these operators are using our county roads and federal highways to move equipment that, reading and looking at the photo in the Post Independent, did not have their own pilot cars and are too large.
My $25 membership to Community Counts affords me the privilege of receiving emails informing me of where and when rigs are moved around our county and federal highways. In this case, Aztec dropped the ball by not offering the public timely and accurate information about this rig move. It appears this rig move disrupted the movement of many commuters and other highway drivers, for at least an hour. I am concerned that our own county oil and gas liaison does not know when, where and how these oversized rigs are being moved from pad to pad, and that he's not required to know.
I'm concerned about keeping our roads safe for pedestrians and motorists. Is it unreasonable to expect the oil and gas industry to operate within the parameters of any other business?
There will be a cost to the taxpayers of the Rifle Fire Department and the Burning Mountains Fire Protection District (aka Colorado River Fire Authority) when transport services are expanded to Valley View Hospital. The costs outlined below are easily verified and should be available upon request from Rifle Fire. The costs are based on industry standards for staffing and budgeted expenses. Costs are:
1. Three paramedics at $240,000 and three EMTs at $126,000 (wages and benefits included) annually.
2. $150,000 in matching funds for an ambulance and equipment for start up.
3. $60,000 in supplies, fuel, maintenance, etc., annually.
4. Station expansion or replacement to house new staff and vehicle: $100,000 annually.
5. Total projected cost: $676,000 first year and $526,000 annually after that.
Projected revenues, based on three years of historical data, would be approximately $210,000 annually. A deficit of $316,000 annually will be covered by your tax dollars. And your communities will still be underprotected at different times during the days, weeks and months of 2013 and beyond.
If you have questions please contact your elected fire authority board member at 970-625-1243 or your county commissioner at 970-945-5004.
CEO/Owner TransCare Ambulance