EAB debates proposal to coordinate gas pipelines
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
RIFLE, Colorado – The Garfield County Energy Advisory Board (EAB) on Thursday debated a proposal by EAB member Scott Brynildson, representative for Mamm Creek and Hunter Mesa, to make energy companies share pipelines rather than allow each company to build its own.
In the end, Michael Gross of Peach Valley suggested the board appoint a committee to examine the issue and report back at the next EAB meeting in September.
Gross’ motion passed unanimously in a voice vote, but no committee members were appointed and no meeting date was set.
“I didn’t expect much more,” said Brynildson after the meeting. “I just wanted a vote on it, I wanted to see how the companies would vote.”
Brynildson sent a letter to the Garfield Board of County Commissioners (BOCC), after being taken on a tour of a pipeline project by Williams Midstream.
“Companies act like they know nothing of what each [other] is doing,” Brynildson argued in his letter. “They claim they must have their ‘own’ pipeline.”
But, he continued, “There are too many oil companies in this area to let each have their own right of way.”
He suggested the BOCC require that the companies select a spokesman for the pipeline issue, and work out a master plan for placement of jointly managed pipelines.
“Let’s unitize the oil companies,” Brynildson declared in his letter, comparing his idea to an industry practice of “unitizing” gas leases, or linking them together in a “unit.”
Brynildson found some support on the board, starting with fellow citizen-representative Bob Arrington of Battlement Mesa.
“It’s an idea to be considered. I think Scott’s got a good idea here,” Arrington said.
But others on the board were less supportive.
Garfield County Oil and Gas Liaison Kirby Wynn said the county commissioners already have started work on a master plan concerning the future of the energy industry here, and suggested the pipeline issue might be part of that master plan.
“It’s too broad, and it’s too sweeping,” Wynn said of Brynildson’s idea. “I don’t see how we can get behind that.”
“Maybe the oil companies are not in favor of that,” said EAB chairman Brent Buss. He said there might be sufficient support on the EAB to get Brynildson’s letter endorsed and sent on to the BOCC.
At least two energy company representatives, Sean Norris of Oxy and Cary Baird of Chevron, said they could not vote on the measure until they had discussed it with their colleagues.
In other action, the EAB:
• Heard complaints from a number of area residents, including Tara Meixsell of New Castle, Rick Roles of Hunter Mesa, Marion Wells of Rulison and Thomas Thompson, also of Rulison, about a variety of problems related to gas drilling activities.
• Learned from the new director of the Community Counts organization, created to field complaints about industry activities and find answers for the complainants, that the organization and its website is back up and running following a brief time out of operation. Nita Smith, the new director, reported that the toll-free hotline is operating again, at 866-442-9034, and that she is working on updating the website and producing informational literature.
• Heard from Garfield County Oil and Gas Liaison Kirby Wynn that 11 drill rigs are operating in the county, although one is expected to move to another state soon.
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