GarCo commissioners to help Silt family resolve dispute with I.E. Miller
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Garfield County commissioners plan to ask some tough questions about why Paul and Nanci Limbach still haven’t been reimbursed for damages to their home from an energy industry mishap.
The Limbach home south of Silt was virtually destroyed on May 18, 2007 when an I.E. Miller Services truck hit a Holy Cross Energy electrical line, causing it to contact a 69,000-volt transmission line. That led to a surge in the Limbach home.
The Limbachs have said the damage cost them over $100,000 in expenses, that they have nearly gone broke and none of the companies involved have reimbursed them.
Nanci Limbach said at a recent county Energy Advisory Board (EAB) meeting that their fence and irrigation ditch along County Road 346 has also been damaged about 14 times by energy industry trucks but no one has ever been given a ticket, including the driver that caused the accident.
I.E. Miller Services was acting as a contractor of EnCana Oil and Gas when the accident occurred. An EnCana spokeswoman has said contractors are required to have their own insurance and are responsible when accidents happen.
EAB members Betsy Suerth, Scott Brynildson and Leslie Robinson said Monday the EAB can’t resolve the problem and asked Garfield County commissioners to help the Limbachs. Robinson said the companies involved and their insurance companies have been “fighting amongst themselves” about who’s to blame and who should pick up the costs.
“As a board member of the EAB it’s not fair that one of our residents is facing financial ruin because of a mishap with a contractor for an energy company,” she said.
Brynildson said things have gotten bad enough financially that Limbach has nearly lost her wildlife rehabilitation program. He said in the past there used to be a feeling that the energy industry wants to help regular citizens and farmers but that no longer seems to exist.
“We are not beggars but we want to help the Limbachs,” Brynildson said. “They need financial assistance to get them through this.”
County attorney Don DeFord said the county has no legal standing in the matter, but the county is in “a good position” to ask the companies to appear before the commission and ask what’s going on. He said the quickest way to a resolution if the companies weren’t responding would have been for the Limbachs to sue everyone involved, but he understands that it requires a financial commitment.
“It’s clear the Limbachs did nothing but become the unfortunate victims in this,” he said.
Commissioners voted unanimously Monday to invite the companies to an upcoming meeting to discuss and hopefully resolve the issue. There was some hope the companies might resolve the matter on their own in advance.
Commissioner Mike Samson said, “I really really really hope the entities involved say, ‘We’re not going to meet in May, we’re going to get together and take care of it ourselves.'”
Contact Pete Fowler: 384-9121
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