Once again, the HD Mountains face new threats from oil and gas development, this time from a proposal for a massive methane gas compression and processing facility.
The proposal for the El Toro facility has numerous flaws, not least of which is that the plant does not even have pipelines to transport the gas from the site. We need you to tell the county to deny a permit for this facility and keep the HD range, and its surrounding communities, safe from unnecessary development.
The HD Mountains, located between Bayfield and Chimney Rock, are home to an abundance of old-growth ponderosa pine stands, provide critical habitat for big game herds, and are rich with cultural resources. But now Harvest Corners LLC, a company based in Houston with a field office in Bloomfield, NM, wants to install a large methane gas and compression facility about half a mile north of the beginning of CR 525, about 1.25 miles west of the end of CR 525 and the Ute Creek Trailhead (see map at right).
This proposed station, known as the El Toro Compressor Station, is classified as a Major Industrial Facility. It’s projected to contain ten large 1500 horsepower engines driving piston gas compressors that will be running twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. These compressors, along with gas processing equipment and support systems, would be operated in an unmanned facility occupying a 3.5 acre pad site on private land immediately adjacent to the southern border of the Saul’s Creek area of the San Juan National Forest.
Learn more about the proposed project on the La Plata County Planning Department page and entering the project number (PL20190170)
We need your voice to be heard to protect the HDs: tell La Plata County to deny the permit for the unnecessary and ill-conceived El Toro facility.
Personalize Your Comments
Our recommended comments are detailed below. Communicate these in your own words in your email to the La Plata County planning department: email@example.com.
Many of us live and recreate around this area- base your comments on your personal experiences for greater impact.
Main Talking Points
1. The El Toro project proposal is incomplete
- There are no approved pipelines to transport the compressed gas from the proposed facility, and Harvest Four Corners has no documentation in their proposal describing how the gas will be transported. This is an unacceptable oversight in the proposal. If the plant is built, Harvest Four Corners will have leverage for additional pipelines across private property and national forest, further degrading the HD mountains.
2. The project is unnecessary
- The proposals for the El Toro facility lack an explanation for why the project is needed in the first place. This is especially egregious considering that demand, and therefore pricing, for natural gas is plummeting. Two alternatives for the facility already exist, rendering this project completely unnecessary.
3. El Toro would contribute to climate change and negatively impact local air quality
- The proposed facility would produce large amounts of carbon dioxide from its round the clock operations, contributing to climate change. The multiple exhaust sources dispersed by prevailing winds would also degrade the air quality in the area, leading to public health impacts for nearby communities
4. The project hurts wildlife & increases fire risks
- The noise, exhaust, and access for the facility would disrupt the wintering grounds of local herds of elk and deer. El Toro would also heighten the risk for a large methane-fueled fire igniting the San Juan National Forest and nearby private lands. This scenario would be devastating for nearby recreation areas and would place enormous strain on local firefighting resources.
Want more to say? We have additional talking points:
- The radius of negative impacts extends well beyond the quarter mile that La Plata County would regulate
- There will be high energy noise sources, and the proposed mitigation plan is questionable
- No engineering drawings were presented in the proposal
- It’s unclear if the Emergency Response Plan addresses threat responses in enough detail
- Site run-off down slope could contaminate the nearby Pine River Irrigation Ditch
- El Toro would degrade CR 523, and increase congestion at CR525. There could also be unprotected drop offs.
- There’s unspecified monitoring and automatic shutdown for the unmanned site operation
- The company will likely use permitting for this project as leverage for additional required pipeline and station permits
- The project still needs large methane pipelines, which are thus far not permitted.
- The threat of eminent domain might be used to force pipeline easements.
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