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GarCo commissioners disagree about energy board

Pete Fowler
pfowler@postindependent.com
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Garfield County commissioners disagree over whether the county’s Energy Advisory Board meetings are starting to look like an industry forum or a well-balanced dialogue between everyone involved.

“My concern is we have some imbalance,” said Commissioner Tresi Houpt, at a commissioners’ meeting Monday. “It’s looking more and more like an oil and gas forum instead of its original intent.”

Commissioner John Martin disagrees with the statement.



“We just placed three more people, citizens at large, on that committee as well as getting the cities of Glenwood Springs and Carbondale involved. I feel it’s more of a citizen’s advisory group than any kind of oil and gas forum,” he said in a phone message.

The board is designed to represent a broad spectrum of interests including the county, cities, school districts, the energy industry, regular citizens, landowners and environmentalists. It’s meant to be a forum for communication to prevent or minimize conflict.



At Monday’s meeting, Martin said, “With all the leasing that’s taken place in the Carbondale area, we really need someone in the Carbondale area to step up.”

Commissioner Mike Samson said, “The times that I have gone to the energy advisory board I’ve never seen any representatives from Carbondale or Glenwood.”

Martin said, “We’d like to make sure that those municipalities are represented as well.”

Town Trustee John Hoffman said Carbondale trustees haven’t participated much in the EAB recently, but they expect to pick someone to serve on the EAB soon. Houpt said the county is looking for a citizen representative from Carbondale in addition to a trustee representative.

Someone made a statement at the last EAB meeting claiming that the municipal representatives were siding with the energy industry, according to Silt town administrator Betsy Suerth, who is on the EAB.

“It’s certainly not the position of the municipalities,” she said.

Suerth said the EAB is supposed to have 15 energy industry positions and 19 other slots. But, she said, the other slots aren’t necessarily represented on the board right now because some people have moved away or stopped participating for various reasons.

County commissioners voted Monday to remove three members of the EAB who haven’t been going to its meetings because they moved away.

The county is in the process of streamlining conflicts between an original EAB resolution and its bylaws, as well as possibly re-defining the areas that citizen representatives can serve on the board from. The EAB was formed in 2004.

The county is still looking for a citizen representative from the Unabridge and Wallace Creek area. Anyone interested can visit http://www.garfield-county.com. Click on “County Departments” and then “Oil and Gas” for instructions on how to volunteer.

Contact Pete Fowler: 384-9121

pfowler@postindependent.com


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