State drops claims over gas pipe construction near Parachute |

State drops claims over gas pipe construction near Parachute

Phillip Yates
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

PARACHUTE, Colo. ” Claims against four companies building a natural gas pipeline in the Garden Gulch area northwest of Parachute have been dropped, according to the Colorado Attorney General’s Office.

Nate Strauch, a spokesman for Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, said the state’s move will allow work on the pipeline to proceed. However, the state did not drop a claim over penalties the companies will have to pay, Strauch said.

Those penalties could be about $10,000 per day, he said.

“It should be a significant fine,” said Strauch, adding he didn’t have an estimate of how much the fines would ultimately total.

In May, Suthers reached an agreement with Marathon Oil Co., Berry Petroleum Co., Enterprise Products and Enterprise Transportation Co. after the companies’ construction work on a natural gas pipeline allegedly polluted Garden Gulch and Parachute Creek with sediment, according to court documents filed by the attorney general.

The companies agreed to implement “proper sedimentation control measures” by May 7, and to make one or more company representatives available for daily, weekday briefings with a Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment official, according to court documents. The companies also agreed to pay the costs of weekly inspections of the area until July 31, according to court documents.

The agreement between the state and the four companies led to the cancellation of a hearing in Garfield County District Court last month on Suthers’ request for an injunction that sought to prevent the four companies from continuing work on the pipeline.

Marathon and the Enterprise companies ” which are independent businesses working with Marathon ” are building the pipeline, while Berry Petroleum is providing an access road for heavy equipment to construct the ditch for the pipeline.