Permit for gas plant near De Beque approved
Mesa County Commissioners voted 3-0 Tuesday to approve a conditional use permit for a natural gas processing plant west of De Beque.
The plant proposed by site owner Red Rock Gathering Company, LLC, of Brighton, would compress raw natural gas and extract impurities, hydrocarbon liquids and natural gas liquids from the raw material on a 40-acre site at 4325 V 2/10 Road. Ten of those acres would be devoted to construction of at least one 65-foot demethanizer tower, a 56-foot flare tower, tanks, buildings and three compressors with the possibility of adding up to six more.
Lorne Prescott, site manager and senior project scientist at Olsson Associates, the Red Rock representative, said the applicant anticipates the plant will run constantly but employees will not always be present. He estimated up to four vehicles will go in and out of the site each day, the flare will operate only during maintenance or emergency periods, and compressors will be placed in buildings lined with sound-buffering material to keep noise at night below 50 decibels at 350 feet, which is required by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.
Prescott told commissioners Monday that Red Rocks chose the site on V 2/10 Road because of its proximity to the TransColorado Pipeline and other oil and gas facilities.
The plant’s proximity to houses concerns De Beque resident Kim Heidel. Heidel is the closest neighbor to the plant site and she said the plant will replace a residential property that was repossessed. The county measured 1,900 feet between the center of the site and Heidel’s property. Prescott said the back edge of the plant would be 1,588 feet from Heidel’s home, although she estimates the distance would be closer to 350 feet.
“I’ve spent 15 years paying for it and working on it and now there’s this thing moving into my front yard,” Heidel said, referring to her home.
Heidel told commissioners the odors and noise produced by a compressor station will force her from her home. When asked by Commissioner Rose Pugliese if there was anything Red Rocks could do to make the plant easier to live with, Heidel responded a dirt berm may muffle some noise, but would not eliminate it or address any smells.
Commissioners decided to add to a list of permit conditions for Red Rocks that the company try to create a berm west of the plant as long as it does not interfere with the site’s stormwater mitigation plan.