GarCo partly lifts order suspending pipeline work
Antero allowed to perform grading, erosion control; one parcel still in dispute
Garfield County commissioners have partly lifted a stop-work order on an Antero Resources pipeline project in response to state concerns about leaving the work site unstabilized for the winter.
However, the order doesn’t apply to the property of Bob Regulski, who is in the middle of a court dispute with Antero over the project and has accused it of dangerous pipeline construction practices.
At issue is a two-mile project in the Divide Creek area east of Silt involving a gas pipeline and two pipelines that would carry water associated with gas development. The county stopped the project because of concerns including the presence of large rocks in the pipeline trench that could cause leaks.
Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission Director David Neslin wrote the county to say that with winter nearing, the stop-work order needed to be lifted to let Antero access areas covered in the county’s grading permits to do erosion control and stabilization.
County commissioners on Monday approved partially lifting the county order so Antero could move forward with resolving county concerns with the pipeline as a whole.
But commissioners declined to address the issue of Regulski’s property, where a court injunction currently also is preventing any work from occurring.
Regulski has sued Antero, saying it not only improperly installed the pipeline but also went outside the easement he had granted. Antero has acknowledged needing to change its route on Regulski’s property, and sued for condemnation for a new easement after failing to reach a new agreement with him.
Regulski wants the county to look more broadly at the safety of Antero pipelines. But two other owners of land the contested pipeline crosses told commissioners Monday they were pleased with the work done by Antero contractors on their property. One of them, Brit McLin, asked commissioners to let Antero proceed with reclamation work on his property.
Antero contends rocks and other debris ended up in the trench on Regulski’s property since the work was stopped. Chris Coyle, an attorney representing Antero, suggested Monday that Regulski may have been responsible. Regulski’s attorney, Rob Gavrell, noted that no such allegation was made against his client during testimony in the court litigation.
Regulski on Monday reiterated his concern that letting Antero go forward with its pipeline project jeopardizes area residents.
“For the health and welfare of everybody in this county, you cannot let these people go on,” he told commissioners.