Garfield County Energy Advisory Board to discuss possible demise |

Garfield County Energy Advisory Board to discuss possible demise

John Colson
Post Independent staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

A Garfield County board, created to act as a conduit for interaction between the public, the county and the gas drilling industry, will be talking about its own possible demise at a meeting on March 4.

And for a short time on Monday, it seemed as though the public would not be permitted to be part of the conversation.

The Energy Advisory Board, created in 2004, meets once a month and has come under fire recently from gas-industry operators for what the operators say is a “toxic atmosphere that serves as a means to bash industry.”

A letter signed by representatives of seven gas companies, several of whom serve as industry reps on the EAB, questioned whether the EAB should continue to meet.

Other members of the board, however, told the Post Independent they do not feel the EAB should be eliminated.

“I would hate to see it dissolve,” said board chairman Jeff Simonson, who represents the Divide Creek area south of Silt.

“I think having that level of access is critical for the public,” he said, adding that if the EAB is eliminated, the only venue for public questions or complaints will be at the weekly meetings of the Board of County Commissioners.

Simonson, however, at one point canceled the two periods of public comment time that historically have appeared on every EAB agenda – one at the beginning of the meeting, and one at the end.

When contacted by the Post Independent, Simonson said he did that because, if the board decided to discontinue its own existence, any public comment would have been superfluous.

But, in a subsequent talk with a reporter, he said several members of the board contacted him and spoke in favor of restoring at least the public comment period at the end of the meeting, which he did.

When asked whether the public will be able to comment during that part of the agenda allotted to the discussion about the board’s future, he said he was not sure.

The discussion is scheduled to take place starting at 7:10 p.m., following an educational segment on “noise mitigation techniques” aimed at limiting noise pollution from drilling facilities.

The meeting starts at 6 p.m. at the Garfield County Health and Human Services Building in Rifle.

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