Garfield County Energy Advisory Board expands |

Garfield County Energy Advisory Board expands

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – A county advisory committee, formed to provide a bridge between the citizens, the oil and gas industry and the Garfield County government, got an updated set of operating rules this week, along with permission to expand its membership to include more citizens.

The Energy Advisory Board (EAB), formed in 2004, has now been expanded to include representation from Carbondale, Glenwood Springs and New Castle, which previously were not included in the board’s work.

In addition, a large portion of western Garfield County has now been redivided so that citizens on the EAB represent smaller areas than was originally planned.

Part of the goal, according to EAB members and published accounts, was to even out the balance on the board between citizens and industry representatives. Some said the industry was dominating the board’s proceedings and hampering its effectiveness as a route for citizen complaints about gas company activities.

The new arrangement was approved by the Garfield County commissioners Monday, after a presentation by EAB chair Betsy Suerth and EAB member for the Grand Valley Citizens Alliance, Leslie Robinson. The board’s membership now includes representatives from Garfield County; the cities of Rifle, Silt, Parachute, New Castle, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs; three community organizations; all energy companies with wells or other activities in the county; two school districts; and 11 different drainages, mesas and other geographic areas in western Garfield County.

As part of the resolution passed by the commissioners, the EAB is now empowered to make recommendations concerning changes in legislation, technology, zoning resolutions and other procedures or issues that might affect the industry or in some way alter the way the industry affects the lives of citizens.

The new bylaws also call for minutes to be kept of every meeting, and for those minutes to be on file with the county’s oil and gas department and available for public inspection.

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