Chevron failure to pay tax threatens to delay permits

RBC I The county commissioners met for their regular meeting in Rangely this week where they approved pipeline work by Chevron despite concerns over unpaid taxes and discussed apprehensions about the algae levels in the river and metals in the snow.

The board unanimously approved a resolution granting Chevron a Special Use Permit to replace and reroute an existing CO2 discharge pipeline. County Sales and Use Tax Administrator Deb Morlan requested that prepayment of the approximately $11,000 use tax bill be added as a condition of approval for the permit. Morlan and the commissioners expressed frustration that Chevron has not paid their use tax for previous projects and are not filing their use tax returns. A representative from Chevron who was in attendance was concerned that holding up the permit process would delay the planned turn-around project this summer, something he said the county told him they would not do. After a lengthy discussion the commissioners agreed to allow the permit to be issued without prepayment but said that they expect an end to the non-payment issue. “If this continues we will have standing to say no,” said Commissioner Si Woodruff.
Rangely Town Manager Peter Brixius approached the commissioners during the public input portion of the meeting where he expressed concern over the levels of various metals he has detected in local snow. Brixius, who says he is an analytical chemist by training, has tested area snow for the last two years and found high levels of aluminum, barium and strontium. He was concerned that these metals were increasing the algae levels of the White River and could also have negative health impacts. Brixius urged that more extensive testing is needed. Commissioners Woodruff and Rector agreed and they are currently working on a plan to test what snow remains above Meeker in the coming weeks.
Approved in the consent agenda were three budget variances including increased funds for landscaping and construction projects.
The board also opened bids for two spraying projects, one for Lower White River Pest Control District Herbicide Spray Project, as well as the Lower White River Pest Control District Aerial Spray Project.
The commissioners will meet again on Monday in Meeker.