CMC board mum about SourceGas suit | AspenTimes.com

CMC board mum about SourceGas suit

John Colson
Post Independent
Aspen, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – The Colorado Mountain College board of trustees met by telephone in executive session for about an hour on Friday, but made no announcement concerning the school’s legal dispute with SourceGas.

According to an agenda issued by the college, the meeting was called to give the trustees a chance to talk about a lawsuit against the school filed Wednesday by SourceGas.

The suit is meant to force the college to allow construction of a natural gas compressor station along a pipeline that runs under the school’s 680-acre campus property in Spring Valley. SourceGas says the compressor is necessary to boost pressure in the line to better serve customers in Eagle County.

The school’s CEO, Stan Jensen, signed a lease agreement in August 2011, permitting the project on a five-acre site over a ridge from the campus.

A subsequent outcry from students, faculty and neighbors of the campus prompted the trustees to decline to recognize that lease at a meeting on May 14.

In the lawsuit, SourceGas asked that the court give the issue a quick hearing so it can get back to work planning for the compressor station.

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CMC’s special attorney hired to argue the case, John Sullivan of Sullivan Green Seavy of Denver, said on Friday that the trustees have not changed their minds about the May 14 decision, but declined to describe the talks during Friday’s executive session.

“We are committed to assisting CMC to identify all of its options to resolve this dispute,” Sullivan said in a telephone interview on Friday, adding that he and another attorney from the firm, Barbara Green, are working on the case.

The CMC trustees were also slated to discuss a second site for the compressor station on the college’s Springs Valley property, called the water tower site. The site had earlier gotten a tentative endorsement from an advisory committee of students, faculty and neighbors.

But the trustees did not take up the topic after coming out of the executive session, and immediately adjourned the meeting.

Natalie Shelbourn, spokeswoman for SourceGas, said on Friday, “We still consider the water tower site to be a viable site.”

But SourceGas must be allowed to begin conducting environmental studies on that site by June 15 in order to get the project built in time for the 2013-14 winter heating season.

The only official court action on the case so far, Sullivan confirmed, is a note for Ninth Judicial District Judge James Boyd to review the status of the dispute on July 24.

jcolson@postindependent.com

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