Chevron to pitch in $25 million for reconstruction of Garfield County Road 204 |

Chevron to pitch in $25 million for reconstruction of Garfield County Road 204

Phillip YatesGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Chevron will contribute $25 million to help reconstruct Garfield County Road 204 under an agreement recently reached with the county and approved by county commissioners on Monday. As part of the agreement, the county will put forward $3 million toward rebuilding the road, which is north of DeBeque. Half of the county’s funds for the project will come from a Colorado Department of Local Affairs grant, with the other half coming from the county’s Road and Bridge Department.However, the final details of Chevron’s agreement with the county – and the $25 million the company intends to contribute – will still have to be approved by internal company managers.Commissioners John Martin and Larry McCown voted in favor of approving the agreement, while Commissioner Trési Houpt voted against. Houpt said while she appreciated the time and effort that went into the agreement, she couldn’t support it because of a paragraph that said the county would support the company going after a severance tax credit for the redevelopment of County Road 204. Houpt said that credit allows energy companies to recover costs from the road’s reconstruction over a number of years.Houpt said her concern over Monday’s agreements comes from previous discussions with state officials that if a project goes forward with the severance tax credit, that could potentially preclude the county from receiving impact grants for future efforts.”I do want to put on the record that I support this partnership, I just cannot support this paragraph for the severance tax credit on the (rebuilding of County Road 204),” Houpt said.Michael DeBerry, manager of Piceance operations for Chevron, said discussions about the need to redevelop the road have been ongoing with the county for almost 20 months. Final negotiations of the company’s agreement occurred in the last three months, he said. Rebuilding of the road will occur from the Mesa County line to the intersection of County Road 211 north of DeBeque, DeBerry said. That road serves the natural gas development Chevron has in the area.The impact that natural gas industry trucks and service vehicles have made on county roads has become a critical issue for many in the community as the level of natural gas development in the area continues to increase. Last year, 40 percent of all drilling permits approved by the state were for wells in Garfield County.DeBerry said the company approached the county in 2006 about redeveloping the road because it would not support the company’s long-term industrial operations.”(County staff and Chevron) have worked long and hard and very diligently … to come up with a wonderful enhancement to infrastructure in the county,” DeBerry told commissioners. “We are looking forward to moving forward in this fashion.”Contact Phillip Yates: 384-9117pyates@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO

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