Compressor stations rule lessens countys authority
The Garfield County board of commissioners heard an appeal for a special-use permit for a compressor station up County Road 215 on Tuesday – even if they didn’t need to.The reason: Compressor stations are covered under pipeline regulations adopted last month that don’t require all stations to be reviewed. Whether a special use permit is required is now determined by the diameter and length of pipe that connect to the station. If a station doesn’t have at least 2 miles of 12-inch pipe or over 5 miles of any width of pipe, it doesn’t require a special use permit.The new regulation, by nature, surrenders the county’s authority because some compressor stations don’t have enough pipe, or pipe that is big enough. Commissioner Trési Houpt thinks the regulation should be changed.”To have compressor stations included in this regulation completely takes away our authority,” Houpt said. While that is true, the commissioners differed on whether the pipeline regulation should be changed and a separate set of compressor station regulations developed.”This (the CR 215 station) is a prime example why I believe we need to separate compressor station (regulations) from pipelines,” Houpt said. To do that, however, would undermine two years of work that went into developing the pipeline regulation, commissioners John Martin and Larry McCown said. “I think we need to put (the new regulation) into play before we change it,” Martin said.For now, the regulation stands as is. If the BOCC finds it needs more authority over compressor stations in the future, the pipeline regulations should be amended, not rewritten, McCown said after the meeting. He said he is confident compressor stations not requiring a special-use permit will “be an exception more than a rule.” In Tuesday’s case, EnCana Oil & Gas applied under old regulations requiring a special-use permit for the station.
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