Planners work up county pipeline regulations |

Planners work up county pipeline regulations

Local planners will present a proposal for new county gas pipeline regulations to the Planning Commission in August.Regulations in place now are generic, encompassing land-use permits but not the specifics of pipelines, said Mark Bean, director of the Glenwood Springs Building and Planning Department. Garfield County has never had precise regulations regarding gas pipelines, or even a definition of what a pipeline is, he said. Natural gas exploration is booming in the county – 700 wells are estimated to be built in 2004 – and with the new construction will come more pipelines, said Don DeFord, Garfield County attorney.County commissioners, the Planning Commission, industry and the public have discussed the pipeline regulations for the past five to six months, Bean said. Debate ensued over whether the county should include the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission in the development of the rules. Commissioners made an effort to work with state agencies, but the process hit a stalemate. Recently, the decision was made to move forward without the commission. “My ultimate goal is that we are able to maintain local control on land use issues as they pertain to pipelines,” said County Commissioner Trési Houpt.The regulations will focus on land-use issues that surround the building of a pipeline, Houpt said. Although state agencies oversee most oil and gas activity, they do not regulate pipeline activity, making it the county’s responsibility, Houpt said. The rules will encompass where pipelines are placed, impact on land and revegetation, and the timing of pipeline placement, among others, she said. The proposal will go first to the Planning Commission and then to the county commissioners. The new Energy Advisory Board will possibly review it as well, Houpt said.”Right now, fortunately, the COGCC has taken the position that they do not regulate pipelines, and we can have local say as to how the process is done in this program,” DeFord said. “We’ll see what their reaction will be.”Contact Christine Dell’Amore: 945-8515, ext.

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