Officials: Tax fight not issue

Battle between EnCana and Rio Blanco won't affect Moffat

A tax battle between Entrega Pipeline Company's parent company and Rio Blanco County shouldn't affect work on the portion of Entrega's pipeline that goes through Moffat County, officials say.

EnCana, Entrega's parent company, is protesting Rio Blanco's use tax on its natural gas drilling operations.

The use tax protest does not stem from the Entrega pipeline that will start in Rio Blanco County, run through Moffat County and end in Wyoming.

Work on the pipeline near Meeker begins in August, and Rio Blanco County budget director and use tax administrator Thomas Judd said the county will charge EnCana only when pipeline work begins.

He declined to disclose how much Rio Blanco will charge EnCana in taxes, but he said he'd release the figures after a hearing scheduled for next month. Rio Blanco commissioners will hear EnCana's plea in July.

The pipeline is expected to cross into Moffat County from the south in September and from the north a few weeks later.

The pipeline will run north through the county, crossing the Yampa River near Maybell.

An Entrega spokesman said the EnCana legal battle will not delay the pipeline's entry into Moffat County.

"I don't think it will have any effect on Moffat County," Entrega spokesman Denny Needham said.

Moffat County does not charge a use tax like Rio Blanco County.

Entrega will be charged a business property tax for its Moffat County operations.

That tax will be assessed by the state, not the county, Moffat County Assessor Suzanne Brinks said.

Brinks said there will be a period when Entrega is allowed to protest the personal property tax.

The amount of tax money pipeline construction will put into Moffat County's coffers is not yet known.

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