Chevron gets OK to mine shale for its construction projects
The Garfield County Commissioners granted Chevron Shale Oil Co. a conditional use permit to mine shale near DeBeque for use in construction projects on its 115,000-acre property.Chevron produces oil in the Rangely field in northwest Colorado. It was also selected as one of three companies for Bureau of Land Management research, development and demonstration oil shale leases in the Piceance Basin in Rio Blanco County.Shell, Chevron and EGL Resources will test oil shale extraction technologies on 160-acre leases that can be expanded to 5,120-acre commercial leases if the various technologies prove workable. Chevron’s construction materials mine is 17 miles northwest of DeBeque on 115,000 acres it owns. The mine is expected to disturb eight acres below the sheer shale cliffs and above Clear Creek. According to consulting geologist Sean Norris of Cordilleran Compliance Services, the mine will be worked for 5 to 15 years, depending on how much and how quickly Chevron has need for construction material.No processing will take place on the site, and material will be used on the company’s property, Norris said. Trucks will haul the shale away as needed, but the county conditional use permit allows it to run trucks six days a week, except on Sundays, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.The nearest house is about one mile away from the proposed mine site and is leased by Chevron to a rancher who runs cattle and grows hay in the valley, Norris said.Another neighbor who also leases land from Chevron is the Colorado Nature Ranch, a private hunting ranch. Speaking for the ranch owner, who lives in Orlando, Fla., was Chris Manero with Colorado River Engineering of Rifle. He said the owner, Mark Kessler, was concerned about dust kicked up by the trucks that will transport the shale to Chevron construction sites.”We want to make sure (dust control) is addressed,” he said.Chevron has hired Dalbo Inc., of Vernal, Utah, to provide dust suppression, Garfield County Planner Fred Jarman said.Manero said Kessler is also “nervous about a 15-year time period” for mining the material, as well as operations on weekends.Norris said the company will work with the ranch if it has concerns about operations on particular days of the week.”Chevron and Colorado Nature Ranch have worked closely on those issues,” Norris said. “The actual usage will be a matter of when we need a couple of truckloads of material. There won’t be traffic running in and out of there.”
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