Repairs under way at Gilsonite

Company no longer interested in selling Craig facility

Brandon Johnson

Work is under way to repair the dilapidated Gilsonite plant in Craig.

Moffat County Building Inspector Pat Mosbey sent a letter to the plant’s owner — American Gilsonite Co. of Menlo Park, Calif. — earlier this month telling the company to get the property up to code.

The building, which has sat empty for more than 20 years, has broken roof trusses, holes in the floor and, because the windows and doors are broken, it is easily accessible.

The site was used for processing and shipping for American Gilsonite until the company shut down its Colorado operations. Gilsonite is a nontoxic substance similar to coal. It is used in asphalt and paint.

Moffat County gave the company two weeks to secure the site and 30 days to come up with a plan to fix the building. American Gilsonite has one year to complete any repairs.

Jared Jackson, environmental coordinator for American Gilsonite, said work already is under way to repair the facility.

Jackson and American Gil–sonite CEO Pedro de Lizaur came to Craig last week to look at the facility and meet with the Moffat County commissioners.

According to a letter Amer–ican Gilsonite sent to Mosbey last week, ladders and ropes leading to the roof were cut, and debris, including old tires, was discarded.

The letter also states that two five-gallon cans of paint and two empty 55-gallon drums were removed.

County officials didn’t know what was in the containers, other than that they were labeled hazardous and flammable.

Before last month, only a few employees at American Gilsonite knew the company owned a facility in Craig.

Jackson said that when he saw the facility, he agreed with the county’s assessment.

“It looked like we hadn’t been there for a while,” Jackson said.

Mosbey said that American Gilsonite has been cooperating with the county’s request.

American Gilsonite Vice President and chief counsel Ted Stevens said last month the company would prefer to sell the property. But, Jackson said, the company since has changed its stance.

He said the property’s close proximity to a railroad makes it an attractive site.

“If we ever need to ship via rail, we would like to have it in the future,” Jackson said.

Jay Wagner, president of Wagner Equipment in Craig, said his company was interested in the property a few weeks ago, but has backed off.

There were some issues with the property that had to be resolved, Wagner said, but he declined to specify what those issues were.

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