Garfield County partially lifts Silt pipeline stop-work order
Post Independent staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Garfield County has “partially lifted” a “stop-work” order on a pipeline project near Silt, to permit the company in charge of the project to assess what needs to be done to comply with county requirements.
In addition, according to county officials, the order needed to be relaxed to permit county road crews to work on an adjacent county road to make it safe for winter travel.
The Antero Resources pipeline project has been halted since Sept. 22, when a county building inspector determined that the pipeline had been installed improperly where it crossed over land owned by local builder Bob Regulski.
The project is to bury three 12-inch pipes more than two miles in length, meant to carry gas, oil and “produced water” from Antero drilling rigs in the area. Regulski complained that the trench contains large rocks and boulders, and insufficient bedding under the pipe, to be considered safely and properly installed.
Regulski and Antero currently are locked in a legal battle over the pipeline, which Regulski claims is laid in a trench that does not follow an easement route described in a contract he signed with Antero.
Antero has filed a condemnation action against Regulski to gain control of the land lying under the pipeline as it is, and Regulski has sued Antero for fraud, trespass and other issues.
And while all work on the pipeline had been suspended in September, it appears that it recently was allowed to resume.
A memo to the Board of County Commissioners from Fred Jarman, head of the county’s building and planning department, and chief building official Andy Schwaller, states that an Oct. 28 letter from the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission asked that the stop-work order be lifted. The request was made “so that Antero Resources could access the pipeline sites to implement effective erosion control and site stability Best Management Practices,” the memo stated.
The order also was lifted “to restore the excavation done on the Simonson property” crossed by the same pipeline project.
Regulski, according to a letter from his attorneys to the county, agreed that public safety concerns needed to be addressed, although it was not clear whether he consented to the partial lifting of the stop-work order.
But he continues to insist that the pipeline project is inherently flawed and hazardous to the public.
He has stated since September that the county needs to inspect all pipelines installed by Antero to determine whether they, too, are inadequate.
“The risk to public safety from a potentially exploding pipeline or catastrophic produced water leak and public drinking water contamination represents a threat far worse than one slippery hillside,” declared a letter from Regulski’s attorney, Robert Gavrell.
The matter is to be taken up by the commissioners at its regular meeting on Nov. 15, during the afternoon portion of the meeting starting at 1 p.m.
The meeting is to be held at the commissioners’ meeting room in the administration building, 108 Eighth St. in Glenwood Springs.
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