Routt County road permit issue getting worked out

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— The Routt County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday will consider whether to sign off on a grading and excavating permit for a road that already has been built to accommodate future oil drilling on Wolf Mountain Ranch east of Hayden.

The road has been a point of contention because it, along with the grading and excavating for a well pad on the ranch, had been built in advance of final county approval of the special-use permit needed for Quicksilver Resources to drill the well.

A representative for Wolf Mountain Ranch has said the road was built and the well pad prepared ahead of time to protect wildlife conservation easements on the property.

The county issued a stop work order Nov. 21 for the road and well pad, but most of the work already was complete.

“It wasn’t the best of situations, and I think there were communication gaps between all of us,” Commissioner Doug Monger said Thursday.

Monger said he wants to put the situation behind the county, and he does not think it would be fair to penalize either Quicksilver or the property owner for the road.

The Board of Commissioners is scheduled to consider the grading and excavating permit at 9:35 a.m. Tuesday. Monger put the item on the consent agenda. Items on the consent agenda are generally considered routine and non-controversial and do not require discussion. Any commissioner or member of the public can request the item be pulled from the consent agenda and brought up as its own agenda item.

Once the grading and excavating permit is in place, the county will be protected in case the final special-use permit is not issued for the well and the road and well pad need to be reclaimed. Quicksilver would need to reclaim the area within a year. If it does not, the county can call on the bond to make sure the work is completed.

The commissioners are scheduled to consider the special-use permit for the drilling operation at 5 p.m. Jan 22.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com

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