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County approves gas pipeline, plant

Donna DanielsStaff Writer

Issues related to natural gas pipelines, the county airport, the Satank Bridge and minor subdivision kept the Garfield county commissioners busy Monday.The commissioners approved a special use permit for Williams Production RMT Co., allowing construction of a 20-inch natural gas pipeline for 17.3 miles from just north of Parachute to connect with the TransColorado interstate pipeline just east of DeBeque.Williams also got a green light to build a processing plant to bring the gas up to marketable quality. The plant will be located about five miles north of Parachute, adjacent to American Soda and near Williams’ office on County Road 215.Late last year, Williams purchased approximately 1,800 acres from Unocal. The bulk of the property and the proposed site of the gas plant, 1,370 acres, was Unocal’s former man camp and RV park, which housed workers during the oil shale boom in the early 1980s.The commissioners put off making a decision on the permit at a public hearing in May for lack of information about reclamation of the plant site, water availability and drainage.In the interim, Williams worked out a deal with Exxon-Mobile for sufficient water to run the refining plant and irrigate the property. It also will use one of the wells on the property for potable water, said county planner Randy Russell.Williams also submitted drainage and reclamation plans.The commissioners agreed to grant the permit on the condition Williams build noise abatement walls around the plant.Also on Monday, The Flight Department, a charter and maintenance service at the Garfield County Airport outside Rifle, won approval from the commissioners to operate as the second Fixed Base Operator at the airport. As an FBO the company will be allowed to sell aviation fuel.Although the current FBO, Corporate Aircraft Services, argued there isn’t enough demand for fuel at the airport to justify a second FBO, the commissioners, citing the American philosophy of free enterprise, gave The Flight Department their blessing.In other business the commissioners:-Granted the developer of Sanders Ranch a one-year extension to begin constructing the residential golf course community. Sopris Development LLC representatives Ron Liston and Jim Wells said they need more time to close on a neighboring property that will expand the golf course. The developers also needed time to finalize a plan to minimize impacts to a heron rookery on the property and secure a conservation easement on riparian habitat along Cattle Creek where it runs through the property.-Considered draft permit requirements for overweight vehicles. County road and bridge supervisor Tom Russell proposed a $1,000 annual permit fee per vehicle for trucks weighing more than 80,000 pounds, and a requirement for insurance rather than a bond. The regulations will not be finalized until after public hearings are held. The dates have not been set.-Gave their blessing to John Hoffman of the Carbondale Trails Committee to apply for a grant to refurbish the 103-year-old Satank Bridge near Carbondale for pedestrian use. The bridge was closed to vehicular traffic in the early 1990s.-Awarded a bid of $10,526 to Ace Roofing to replace asphalt shingles and gutters on the District Court buildings in Rifle. Ace Roofing is owned by County Commissioner Walt Stowe, who did not vote on the bid Monday.


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