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Front Page » October 3, 2002 » Local News » Planning Panel Endorses Boc Gases Plant Project
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Planning Panel Endorses Boc Gases Plant Project


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By RICHARD SHAW
Staff reporter

A Great Britain based company has been working recently with Questar to utilize a substance oming from gas wells that has just been vented into the atmosphere in the past: carbon dioxide.

On Tuesday, BOC Gases took a major step toward setting up a plant in Carbon County to compress and ship CO2 to markets in the western United States by getting two approvals the company needed from Carbon County's planning board at the panel's regular monthly meeting.

"Our company operates in 50 countries and does over $250 million a year in CO2 business alone," explained Bruce Bolduc, who had flown from BOC's U.S. headquarters in New Jersey for the planning board meeting. "We have plants in many places in the west including Green River and Cheyenne, Wyo. and in Colorado."

Bolduc and BOC project manager Jason James pointed out that company intends to build the proposed project near the Questar CO2 plant southwest of Price.

In addition to the company's gas supply business, BOC owns a semiconductor division as well as a hospital chain in South Africa.

The county's planning commission had to approve two items in order for the BOC plant project to move ahead.

One action was granting approval for a two-lot minor subdivision on what had been property owned by Questar. The Utah utility sold 2.8 acres to BOC for the plant.

The other item was the county board's support for the issuance of a conditional use permit for BOC to begin development of the plant.

The Carbon County plant will process and compress carbon dioxide which will be put into trucks to be hauled to markets all over the west.

The finished product is used to carbonate beverages.

"Most of the system is computerized, so we will not be hiring large numbers of people," indicated Bolduc. "The plant will employ two people, who will be residents of the area, as well as eight to 12 truck drivers, who may very well be living in this area as well."

The new plant is projected to replace an older facility that currently exists in Pocatello, Idaho.

During the discussion at the planning board meeting, the septic system for the plant was discussed as well as the roads that will be used.

Dave Levanger, director of planning for the county, pointed out that the company will have to follow regulations on installing a septic system.

But Levanger could see no problem with BOC doing so.

Gayla Williams, the deputy zoning administrator, pointed out that she had checked and that the roads in the area would meet the criteria for the types of vehicles the company would be operating.

The county planning board members also asked some questions regarding possible by-products of the operation.

"The only by-product we produce is a kind of oily water that we will build evaporation ponds to eliminate," said James. "That is removed from the CO2 before we compress it. There is nothing else."

Carbon planning board member Lynna Topolovec asked the BOC representatives about the liners and fences the company intends to install around the ponds.

"There is a lot of engineering that needs to go into that part of the plant and we will be doing that," responded James.

Planning panel member Robert Welch inquired about potential fire hazards and the company's plans to handle that type of emergency.

James assured the county planning board members that the related safety procedures were in the development stage at the present time.

Following the discussion, the county planning commission members approved the subdivision and the conditional use permit.

BOC will now have to submit the requests as well as the company's CO2 plant proposal to the county commission for a public hearing and final approval of the project.

Addressing unrelated agenda items at the Oct. 1 public meeting, the county planning commission members:

•Approved a conditional use permit for a gas well for Phillips Petroleum on land owned by Richard Borrell south of Ridge Road.

The location lies between 1000 East and Upper Miller Creek Road.

Noting that there is a residence within 1,800 feet of the proposed well site, Topolovec expressed concern about the noise the ongoing production equipment might produce.

"Is this site going to have an enclosure over the well to keep the noise level at zero?" inquired Topolovec.

Representing Phillips at the planning panel meeting, Nick Sampinos and Jean Semborski voiced concern about the idea of zero noise being produced by equipment at any well site.

"I am concerned about this idea of having no noise," indicated Sampinos. "That is just not possible."

Levanger pointed out that, in the past, the planning board had mainly worried about the levels not surpassing the ambient noises in the area.

"I think the commission settled at 55 decibels at 1,800 feet," explained Levanger.

Planning commission chair Richard Tatton also pointed out that frequency was another important aspect of noise levels.

Commissioner Mike Milovich, who acts as Carbon government's representative on the planning board, brought up the fact that the county could not require the noise level for any gas well to be less than the ambient noise level in an area.

"Actually, the coal truck traffic in that area is much noisier than 55 decibels," stated Tatton.

Sampinos pointed out that he was just concerned about getting into a situation where to low a tolerance is sought.

After discussing the matter, the planning board members approved Phillips' request for the conditional use permit.

At the Tuesday meeting, the planning board members also heard from Delynn Fielding, the county economic development director.

Fielding explained a plan to designate Ridge Road as an economic development area.

Fielding pointed out that the plan would designate everything 500 feet on each side of Ridge Road from the Wellington city limits to about 1000 feet west of the streets junction with State Road 10 as the economic development corridor.

Fielding explained that, by taking the proposed action, the taxes from the lands would go into a special fund for developing the area.

The revenues in the special fund would be used to develop infrastructure along the corridor and provide incentives for companies to move into the area from outside the county or for new businesses deciding to start up there

According to the county's economic development director, infrastructure could include sewer services and any increase in power that would be needed such as heavier lines or a new substation.

The particular economic development area has a time limit of 15 years.

During the designated 15-year period, changes cannot be made in the agreement.

Fielding asked the county planning board to write a letter of endorsement to the state concerning the corridor and the members agreed to grant the request.


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