Court orders halt to pipeline
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
DENVER (AP) ” A federal appeals court has ordered that no work can be done on a gas pipeline through roadless forest in western Colorado until it sorts out a legal dispute.
The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver issued a temporary injunction Friday blocking any construction on the Bull Mountain natural gas pipeline.
The court has set a hearing for June 18 on environmental groups’ appeal of a lower court’s decision against blocking construction.
Construction to begin clearing a right-of-way for the pipeline began last week, said Sloan Shoemaker, executive director of the Carbondale-based Wilderness Workshop.
The Bull Mountain pipeline is in Garfield County, just past the western boundary of Pitkin County outside of Carbondale. A company called S.G. Interests Ltd. (SGI) is behind the project.
Environmentalists argue that construction of the 25.5-mile pipeline violates a federal rule protecting roadless areas in national forests. Federal agencies that approved the line dispute that.
Friday’s order comes after Pitkin County and its allies ” which include the Wilderness Workshop ” appealed a U.S. district judge’s decision earlier this year not to grant a preliminary injunction to stop the planned work on the Bull Mountain pipeline.
Those aligned against the pipeline also say its construction will carve a 100-foot-wide swath through eight miles of roadless areas in national forest and that it could speed development of gas wells in Pitkin County on public land that are leased by SGI. If so, the natural gas boom that has swept Garfield and Rio Blanco counties could spill into Pitkin County.
The Aspen Times contributed to this report.
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