EAB likely to focus on Parachute Creek plume
RIFLE, Colorado – Concerns, complaints and questions about the controversial Parachute Creek hydrocarbon plume are likely to dominate the monthly meeting of the Garfield County Energy Advisory Board (EAB) tonight, scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Rifle branch library.According to the county’s website, there is no educational presentation scheduled for tonight’s meeting.Instead, representatives of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) are expected to be attending, according to Todd Hartman, communications officer for the COGCC.The COGCC has been monitoring efforts by Williams Midstream, a natural-gas pipeline and transportation company, to locate and plug what is believed to be a leak from natural-gas pipelines, tanks or other facilities at a site about four miles up Parachute Creek from its confluence with the Colorado River.Williams and another firm, the drilling company WPX Energy, both own facilities in the vicinity of the plume, and both have been cited by the COGCC as responsible for the cleanup.State and industry officials believe the leak has created a plume of hydrocarbons, including the toxic compound benzene, that has gotten to within 10 feet of Parachute Creek. The plume was discovered on March 8 by Williams employees, and all reports since then have held that Parachute Creek itself has not been contaminated.Kirby Wynn, Garfield County’s oil and gas liaison, said the meeting will be attended by COGCC Director Matt Lepore, along with the commission’s environmental health manager Jim Milne and Chris Canfield, an environmental specialist working out of the Rifle office.Wynn added that a group of representatives from Williams also is expected, including two vice presidents, public relations officers Donna Gray and Michele Swaner, and Mark Potochnik, manager of environmental services-west.The EAB is a board made up of citizens, officials from local governments and school districts, and representatives from area oil and gas operators, including WPX Energy. Its purpose is to provide a forum for discussion about the effects on the county of oil and gas developments.The EAB, created by the county in 2004, meets on the first Thursday of most months of the year.Each meeting typically features an educational presentation about some aspect of the industry, regulations that affect the industry or some other related topic.A buffet dinner is served at 5:30 p.m. to participants in the EAB meeting, but those planning to eat are asked to RSVP to the Oil & Gas Liaison Office, firstname.lastname@example.org
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