Judge delays CMC-SourceGas trial

John Colson
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
Aspen CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – A judge on Thursday vacated a June trial of a case involving Colorado Mountain College and the SourceGas natural-gas delivery company, resetting the trial to start on Feb. 10.

The trial was rescheduled, according to a statement from CMC, because District Judge James Boyd needed more time to review a CMC motion seeking dismissal of the SourceGas suit.

The case now revolves around questions about the validity of a lease between the two sides and whether SourceGas is due compensation over the matter.

The suit, filed by SourceGas last year, challenges the college board of trustees’ decision in May to invalidate a lease allowing SourceGas to build a compressor station along a gas pipeline that crosses CMC’s Spring Valley Campus.

The compressor station is needed, according to SourceGas, to maintain sufficient pressure in the line for the gas to make it to Eagle County customers, and the company believed it had negotiated a valid lease with former CMC President Stan Jensen.

But the trustees declined to recognize the lease after the entire deal was condemned by neighboring ranchers, students and some faculty members at the college. The trustees maintain that the lease had not been formally approved by the board of trustees, as required by state law.

SourceGas and its partner, Rocky Mountain Natural Gas, filed suit later in May.

Boyd ruled in August that he could not force the college to honor the lease and permit SourceGas to build its compressor station.

He has not, however, ruled on the college’s subsequent motion seeking dismissal of the suit, based on CMC’s contention that the lease is now null and void.

In his ruling Thursday, after a pre-trial conference, Boyd directed the two sides to confer on certain outstanding legal issues, according to a statement from the college.