My Side: SourceGas asks CMC trustees to OK new compressor site |

My Side: SourceGas asks CMC trustees to OK new compressor site

Mitch Pebley
Special to the Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
My Side

SourceGas, the local natural gas utility in the Roaring Fork and Eagle valleys, is concerned with recent events in regard to our proposed Spring Valley compressor station. As this issue continues to be discussed, we would like to point out a few facts that we believe are critical to the debate.

Rocky Mountain Natural Gas (RMNG), a subsidiary of SourceGas, has requested approval from the Garfield County Commissioners to build a compressor station in the Spring Valley area for the existing Rifle-to-Avon pipeline. The company has completed all of the requirements set forth by Garfield County in order to make its request.

The Rifle to Avon pipeline was built by Rocky Mountain Natural Gas and Public Service Co. of Colorado (now an operating division of Xcel Energy) in 1995 to provide natural gas service for customers of both companies in the Roaring Fork, Eagle and Vail valleys.

This new compressor station must be built before November 2013 in order to ensure a reliable supply of natural gas for our customers in the area.

SourceGas began the site selection process for the proposed compressor station in March 2010. Numerous sites were considered and ruled out based on various criteria. Engineering reports narrowed the compressor station site to the Colorado Mountain College Spring Valley campus area.

SourceGas and CMC jointly began discussing potential sites on CMC property before agreeing on the currently leased site adjacent to the Nieslanik property. After the Garfield Planning Commission hearing and several public meetings, CMC and landowners asked SourceGas to consider what is called the water tower site as an alternative location to the leased site.

SourceGas agreed to evaluate the water tower site to determine whether it met the company’s site selection criteria. Based on the criteria, SourceGas believes that either site is viable.

CMC formed an advisory committee of representatives of the students, faculty, staff and landowners to aid in gathering feedback and encouraging communication on which of the two sites would be preferred.

Over the past month, SourceGas has held and participated in numerous meetings with surrounding landowners and CMC faculty, staff and students as well as providing tours to our Crystal Compressor Station and a tour to the proposed water tower site.

SourceGas also participated in all of the CMC advisory committee meetings in order to answer questions coming from the various groups represented. In fact, the advisory committee and students in the sustainability program were excited about the prospect of including this project as part of their curriculum to give students real life experience.

Final comments from the advisory committee to the CMC Board of Trustees indicated that if the compressor station must be located in Spring Valley, that the water tower site would be the preferred site for those groups as well.

SourceGas is disappointed that the CMC Board of Trustees has not been able to reach a final decision on this project, and we are somewhat perplexed with statements indicating that careful consideration, time and effort has not already been given to the siting process.

A third party facilitator or another advisory or study group is not needed, however, because many parties have already put significant effort into the process.

SourceGas has a public service obligation to meet the needs of our customers, and after an extensive engineering study we have determined that the compression station project is needed.

We are concerned about the continuing delay because of timetables that need to be met in order to complete the necessary surveys on the new site, so that we are able to ensure a reliable supply of natural gas for all of our customers in the area for the 2013-14 heating season.

SourceGas has not made a formal application before the Colorado Public Utilities Commission concerning the Spring Valley Compression station project, nor has the commission formally considered the project. The Colorado Public Utilities Commission has not made any determinations with regard to the project.

In closing, SourceGas requests that the CMC Board of Trustees recognize the importance of this project and approve the recommendations made by the advisory committee appointed by CMC. If that does not happen, SourceGas will have no other option than to pursue building the station on the original site that is under lease with CMC.

– Mitch Pebley is a senior director of asset management for SourceGas, which is headquartered in Golden.

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