July 24, 2008

Avondale Residents See Plans for Pipeline: Colorado Interstate Gas Plans to Extend a Pipeline From Weston North to the El Paso County Line.

By Jeff Tucker, The Pueblo Chieftain, Colo.

Jul. 24--Avondale residents got their first look Tuesday at plans to extend a natural gas pipeline through the community.

Representatives from Colorado Interstate Gas shared with residents their plan to extend a pipeline from Weston north to the El Paso County Line.

The company has numerous lines in the area and takes its natural gas from the Raton Basin, which straddles the Colorado/New Mexico state line and runs generally west of Walsenburg and Trinidad.

The company is completing an environmental study and hopes to start construction on the line in November 2009. Crews wouldn't be in Pueblo County for at least another month after that, said project manager Chauncy Boese.

Construction is expected to be complete by May 2010. The line will follow some of the company's existing lines but there will also be a 130-mile stretch of new, 16-inch line from Weston past Avondale until it parallels an existing line north of Pueblo toward the El Paso County line.

"All of the gas volume out of the Raton Basin is coal-bed methane and the gas builds slowly," said Boese.

He said the company wants to build the larger pipe to carry the expanded volume of gas to customers throughout the country and the existing infrastructure is already at capacity.

The new pipeline will allow the company to deliver gas to Ohio and Kansas and possibly California.

The new line will need rights of way from local property owners and Boese said farmers in Avondale will be compensated for the land and any disruption to their businesses while the company installs its line.

"The good thing about the pipeline is that once we're done with construction, they can still farm above the pipeline safely," Boese said. "We will buy a permanent easement, plus temporary work space and the farmers will also be compensated for any damage done to their crops."

The line is expected to cost Colorado Interstate Gas $146 million and the ad valorem taxes collected by the state on the infrastructure could fetch a healthy sum for the counties involved.

The company estimates that Pueblo County could get $1.3 million a year in tax revenue. There is a possibility that its extension will allow Colorado Natural Gas to extend gas service to Colorado City and Rye.

Avondale may also be in the mix as well.

Colorado Interstate Gas does not provide actual gas service to communities, it just delivers the product. But Boese said utility companies like Colorado Natural Gas have expressed interest.

"They're looking at the economics of providing gas to Avondale, but that's just preliminary right now," he said.

County Public Works Director Greg Severance said his office is also working with the company to bury the line deeper than required at its numerous intersections with county roads.

There are 10 roads the pipeline will cross and there are others listed on the county's long-term transportation plans. Severance said the company will be required to sink its pipeline at least 6 feet so that it won't interfere with any road construction or maintenance the county might face in the future. Typically the pipelines are required to be three to four feet deep.


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Copyright (c) 2008, The Pueblo Chieftain, Colo.

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