After hearing from the public for more than an hour, the Adams County Board of Commissioners rejected a land-use permit for a natural gas pipeline.
The 2-1 vote against the project happened during the board’s regular meeting July 29. Board Chair Eva Henry, District 1, and Commissioner Charles “Chaz” Tedesco voted to deny the project. Commissioner Erik Hansen, District 3, voted in favor.
The permit would have allowed approximately 28 miles of a 12- to 16-inch underground natural gas liquids pipeline from east of 168th Avenue and Harvest Road south, east of Denver International Airport and the south to the county border within unincorporated Adams County. This segment would have been part of a larger pipeline that would run from Greeley to Skellytown, Texas.
Henry and Tedesco cited concerns that the proposed pipeline would run through an area of the county that has been designated for future growth and development.
“I believe by allowing this pipeline we will be eliminating future jobs that would be permanent jobs, and not just jobs to build a pipeline,” Henry said.
Hansen said that he didn’t think the project was perfect and did have concerns how the pipeline would impact future development, however, he added, “I think we need to have pipelines. They’re one of those kind of necessary things right now. You can lament how we rather have other forms of energy, but at the end of the day these are the forms of energy we have right now.”
The project would have been spearheaded by Enterprise Products L.P., Anadarko Petroleum Corporation and DCP Midstream LLC. During the public hearing, Rick Blake with Enterprise highlighted the benefits of the pipeline.
“The capacity for this line is 150,000 barrels a day, which is equivalent to 716 tanker trucks making a one-way trip,” he said. “The infrastructure investment in Adams County is proposed to be $30.4 million, estimated property tax $841,000.”
He said that statistics showed pipelines were the safest way to transport natural gas.
“On a volume distance basis, pipelines transport about 17 times more product than trucks and 24 more times more product than rail,” Blake said. “On a volume distance basis pipeline transportation of hazardous liquid is 34 times safer than truck transportation and 4 times safer than rail transportation.”
Several residents and business owners spoke in favor of the project.
“Being a local business owner and a local employer, my customers and my business and all my neighbors require economical and affordable clean energy,” said Gary Mikes, a Brighton resident. “I plead with you to pass this for the economic stability of Adams County.”
A few residents spoke against the project, citing concerns about safety and the environment.
“If the pipeline has to go through this county, it should go through the least populated route possible,” said Elizabeth Goebel of Thornton.
Abel Montoya, Adams County Planning and Development director, said in a release that two-thirds of the county is undeveloped and outside the designated growth areas.
“This area of the county is more suitable for locating a pipeline,” said Montoya. “We recommend the applicant consider options that place the pipeline east of Imboden Road, with the usual caveat that the proposal clearly identifies plans to protect water quality and the environment and places the highest value on human safety.”