Pipeline lawsuit from Antero on hold
Post Independent staff
A lawsuit by Antero Resources to condemn land for a pipeline project in the New Castle area was put on hold this week.
The project is being held up while a judge reviews two new motions in the case and Garfield County officials review the pipeline project itself.
The case involves a pipeline trench that has been dug across land owned by Bob Regulski of New Castle.
Regulski claims that the work on the trench was sloppy and dangerous, as well as being out of alignment with an easement he signed with the company.
Regulski’s land is at the confluence of Divide Creek and the Colorado River, and Garfield County inspector Matt Provost recently slapped a “stop work” order on the pipeline project after looking it over.
The order, written up on Sept. 22, states that the grading for the pipeline is “improper” and that the deficiency has to do with the “bedding” underlying the pipelines.
According to an affidavit by chief building official Andy Schwaller, placed in the court file, the stop-work order “applies to all work under the Grading Permits that Garfield County has issued to Antero Resources Pipeline Corporation.”
Schwaller’s statement explains that the work is “a large pipeline project in the Divide Creek Drainage under two grading permits. Garfield County’s position is that the notice applies to all work related to the entire project … not just the property owned by Mr. Regulski.”
The statement verifies that there are “deficiencies in construction and installation” and that the “pipelines were not installed where they were permitted to be installed.”
Schwaller predicted that, due to the number of deficiencies and a need to analyze several aspects of the project as performed so far, “I have no expectation that the project will be moving forward for several weeks at least.”
A hearing was scheduled for today in Ninth Judicial District Court in Glenwood Springs, at which Antero intends to argue for condemnation of the land where the reportedly misaligned trench now runs, according to Regulski.
Attorney Bob Gavrell of Glenwood Springs, representing Regulski, said on Tuesday that District Judge Denise Lynch put the hearing off in order to rule on two motions filed on Regulski’s behalf.
One is a motion seeking summary judgement against Antero, Gavrell said, based on Antero’s contention that it
needed an immediate decision on the condemnation in order to allow the trench work to move ahead.
“We are saying there is no need for an immediate ruling, because of the stop work order,” Gavrell said.
The second motion, Gavrell said, argues that Antero has failed to include in its lawsuit a number of nearby landowners whose property would be affected by the condemnation proceeding.
The decision to delay the hearing was made at a status conference before Judge Lynch on Tuesday, Gavrell said.
He said there is to be another status conference on Oct. 22, at which the hearing on the condemnation action is to be rescheduled.
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