Pipeline suit to go to trial | PostIndependent.com

Pipeline suit to go to trial

John Colson
Post Independent staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

A condemnation proceeding by Antero Resources against a Silt-area landowner is scheduled for a two-day trial in Glenwood Springs on Nov. 2-3.

The date was set by Ninth Judicial Court Judge Denise Lynch on Oct. 22, according to landowner Bob Regulski, who is the target of the condemnation effort.

In addition to the condemnation, Regulski has filed a suit against Antero, accusing the company of fraud and other violations concerning an easement agreement for pipelines meant to carry gas, oil and “produced water” from the drilling process.

Regulski maintains that Antero’s pipeline contractor installed the pipeline in an improper and dangerous manner, and outside of the easement he agreed to. Regulski’s claims were supported by a “stop-work order” imposed by Garfield County on the pipeline laying project on Sept. 22.

The main problem, according to Regulski and the county, is that the trench where the pipeline is laid is filled with large boulders and rocks, rather than smaller rocks, dirt and other fill material that would support the pipeline evenly along its length.

The condemnation, Regulski said, is an attempt by the company to simply broaden its easement to include the existing, erroneously placed trench.

“The whole thing is so unnecessary,” Regulski lamented. “Just move it, do it right, and be done with it.”

In a related development, Garfield County has sent instructions to the attorneys of both Regulski and Antero, laying out the steps that need to be taken in order for the stop-work order to be lifted.

Those steps include provision of evidence that the large rocks have been removed and proper fill put in place, and that the pipeline has not been damaged during the installation process, among other things.

In a letter sent to the county in response, Regulski demanded that “the county must also insist on verification that all [Antero] pipelines [around the county] have been installed in accordance with manufacturers’ specifications.”

He told the Post Independent recently that he is worried that other Antero pipelines in other parts of the county have similar deficiencies and could break apart, sending potentially toxic chemicals into the ground.

In addition, he stated in his letter, “Antero’s bedding and backfill does not meet anybody’s standards. It is a virtual certainty that the pipes have been compromised” and must be removed from the trench and checked for damage.

Regulski noted that, in a site visit to his property recently, members of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission “observed several more issues that have to be addressed,” having to do with an irrigation ditch and drainage from the site of a proposed drilling pad.

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