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Planning commission reviews compressor station

Staff reporter

A seemingly simple matter of approving a compressor station for a gas development company turned into a much larger item on the agenda than most thought it would on Tuesday afternoon.

However, after much discussion the facility was approved and recommended to the county commission, but with many conditions on it's construction.

The unit, that the Bill Barrett Corporation wants to build is located in the Nine Mile Canyon area on property near Rassmussen Cave where some rock art and other artifacts are located.

"We figure it will take about two weeks to put in this unit and I know people have had concerns about the traffic and the noise in the canyon, but that will be short lived," said Dan Sullivan representing Barrett.

Sullivan explained that the compressor station will be off the road and in an enclosed building.

"We will sound proof the building and meet the federal specifications of no more than 55 dB at 1800 feet," he told the assembled panel.

However, that brought up some questions from the commission about the sound level. But after some discussion it was determined that the closest residence was over three miles away.

Sullivan also pointed out that the company, which recently bought many of the facilities lines and wells in the area want to make the operation be more friendly to the environment around it.

"There is another compressor already in the area that doesn't fit in, and we are going to fix that too," he said.

Sullivan pointed out that the company wants to set up some kinf of partnership in formulative stages and put together an informative viewing site at the Rassmussen location.

"We want to make something that shows off the artifacts and rock art while also showing how gas industry production works," he said.

Commission member Bob Welch however, was still concerned about the location.

"Does it have to be in that spot?" he asked. "The canyon is a big tourism area. Maybe this is the chance to show how modern gas production can work around ancient history without drawing away from it?"

But Sullivan pointed out because of the way the gas lines from outlying wells comes in, the area is a perfect spot for the compressor.

Richard Tatton, commission chair, pointed out after visiting the site, that the building, if done correctly would draw no more attention to itself than a number of the barns that already exist in the canyon.

"It's comparable in size to that," Tatton advised.

County Commission Mike Milovich, who sits on the planning commission pointed out that if a concrete building could be used as opposed to a steel building it could be colored and stamped with designs to fit into the area, which would cut down on the distraction.

Sullivan pointed out that the company was open to any ideas to make the situation more acceptable.

Other issues that came up included realigning a road that runs across the property where the compressor station will be located as well as it's proximity to a stream nearby.

"There is a lot of disturbance of the ground on that property," county planning and zoning director, Dave Levanger explained. "It appears that sometime in the 50s someone took a bulldozer to that land and piled up a lot of dirt and rocks. That could be used to insulate the building from washouts or floods."

Sullivan agreed with that and told the commission that there would be three tanks on the property to enclose residual water.

That water will be trucked off as needed.

Asked about how long the compressor station would be located there, Sullivan pointed out that most methane bed wells produce approximately for 25 to 40 years.

"I would expect it to be there somewhere within that range." Sullivan stated.

In the end most of the suggestions were adopted and on Wednesday Levanger spoke with a Barrett Company official who is over land management and verified that the company is willing to work toward as little impact on the canyon as possible.

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