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Front Page » May 27, 2008 » Opinion » Letter to the Editor: Account has inaccuracies
Published 2,689 days ago

Letter to the Editor: Account has inaccuracies

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Bill Barrett Corp.
Denver, Colo.


I've read Steve Tanner's latest effort (Letters to the Editor, Sun Advocate May 20, 2008) to further mobilize media against continuing development atop the West Tavaputs Plateau.

His account has several inaccuracies.

First, he contends the first meeting called by Carbon County to chart a strategic direction for the future of Nine Mile Canyon Road resulted in a "no more magnesium chloride" directive. He goes on to say the BLM and county commissioners "agreed not to use anything until the testing was done."

He's wrong. As noted in the April 1, 2008 account of the meeting by the Sun Advocate, a report stated that I said "We retain the ability short-term to use water and magnesium chloride."

As we've done in the past, our application of mag chloride (MgCl) in late April was the first of two we have applied annually in recent years. We applied it along a high use stretch of road, half a mile from any known artifacts, and during "off hours" when traffic in the canyon is routinely quite low. Our timing was based on moisture in the road bed (critical to the effectiveness of the application is having moisture to seal dust in), calm wind conditions, and cool temperatures.

As for further steps, we will finalize the contractor and scope of work involved with testing the effectiveness of other dust suppressants within days, with work to begin shortly thereafter. We hope to generate data from this operation with which we can make decisions for the best dust suppression methods. This should happen sometime around mid-June.

Second, Mr. Tanner also asserts our activity was performed without notifying Carbon County. He's wrong here as well.

BBC had called Carbon County's road department prior to application, making Mr. Tanner's assertion that BBC acts unilaterally in the canyon a blatant distortion. BBC operates under a maintenance agreement with Carbon County to work on designated portions of the road.The agreement mandates we notify Carbon County of work we're doing. We have and will continue to uphold that agreement.

Third, our use of water as a dust suppressant (or as he likes to term it, a "publicity stunt") is an interpretation of our actions bordering on paranoia. Dust suppression is an on-going part of our operations, as it's been from day one, half a decade before we knew how prospective this natural gas play was. The use of water to suppress dust is standard operating procedure around construction, drilling and other industrial activities around the entire United States.

The only "publicity stunts" we see are the efforts by the Nine Mile Canyon Coalition around a fear and smear campaign, much like the alarmist claims years earlier of our intent to drill on the canyon bottoms, that cultural sites were doomed to exploitation and destruction due to our presence, that seismic operations would shake petroglyphs off canyon walls.

We all know none of this has come to pass.

It's time for the Nine Mile Canyon Coalition to stop propegating mistruths about what our company is doing as we responsibly develop the country's domestic energy.

It's time the Nine Mile Canyon Coalition stops being untruthful about what the dust study says regarding the use of MgCl on the road. The study states, in part: "Again, there is no proof at present that magnesium chloride used for dust abatement in Nine Mile Canyon has or will become a vector of deterioration for the Canyon's resources." (Cited from page 33 of the study).

It's also time the Sun Advocate apply additional rigor to its reporting of the facts instead of taking as fact the misinformation from Mr. Tanner and his cohorts.

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May 27, 2008
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