Pipeline progress | CraigDailyPress.com

Pipeline progress

Entrega has reached deals with 75 percent of affected landowners

After seven months of negotiations, Entrega Gas Pipeline Co. has closed right-of-way deals with 75 percent of the landowners who will be affected by a pipeline crossing Moffat County.

Moffat County Commissioners Darryl Steele and Marianna Raftopoulos urged Entrega officials to continue negotiating deals with the remaining landowners rather than condemn the property.

The commissioners, representatives of Entrega and El Paso Pipeline Company, and Sen. Jack Taylor, R-Steamboat Springs, met for nearly three hours Tuesday to discuss plans for two pipelines proposed for construction across Moffat County.

Commissioner’s concerns included landowner rights, the effects pipeline construction could have on county roads, weed management and the installation of a gas tap near Maybell.

As of last Friday, three Moffat County landowners had contacted Moffat County Natural Resources Director Jeff Comstock to voice concern about condemnation letters they had received from Entrega.

“We want to make sure you’re not saying, ‘OK, we got half now we’re just going to start thumping them,'” Comstock said.

Terry Brown of Trigon Engineering, Procurement and Construction, the company Entrega has contracted to construct the pipeline, denied that was the case.

“We want to negotiate every deal. We hope none of them get condemned, but every now and then we have a landowner … ” Brown said.

At least one Moffat County landowner is refusing to negotiate a deal, said Phil Sanders of Trigon. He didn’t identify the landowner. The companies have the right to condemn the property if they cannot reach a reasonable right-of-way agreement with a landowner.

Entrega’s pipeline is scheduled for construction starting in June, assuming the Federal Energy Regulation Commission approval process goes smoothly. El Paso’s will begin soon after.

Moffat County Road and Bridge Director Bill Mack voiced concern that many of the county roads that would be affected during construction didn’t have a strong enough base to support the heavy loads the companies would put on them.

But Entrega could identify which roads are insufficient to support the trucks and avoid those roads or else strengthen them, Brown said. Moreover, whatever they destroy they will rebuild. “If we tear it up, we’ve got to fix it,” Brown said.

Entrega likely will fix it by reimbursing Moffat County for the repairs the Road and Bridge Department makes. The company will probably use a similar practice for weed control. In arid sage brush country, weeds generally grow wherever the ground has been disturbed.

Taylor strongly encouraged the companies to install a gas tap on the line near Maybell, even though it likely won’t be cost effective. Maybell area residents have no access to natural gas and use propane. “If you want to make some friends in this community, you ought to give some consideration to spending a few bucks,” Taylor said.

Representatives of both companies said they would take the issue to their supervisors and respond to Moffat County.

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