Monday, July 19, 2010

Ute Tribe, Questar trade legal blows

A federal judge may have told construction crews they could go back to work, but attorneys for both the Ute Indian Tribe and Questar Gas Management aren't finished fighting over the Stagecoach natural gas processing plant. Attorneys for the tribe said Monday that they plan to ask two federal agencies to address “outrageous conduct” by QGM with regard to the company's alleged failure to secure the proper permits for construction of the Stagecoach plant expansion.
Work on the plant, which was shutdown late last month by tribal authorities, has resumed thanks to a federal injunction against the tribe that was issued July 1. But in court papers filed Monday, attorneys for QGM claim the tribe has failed to comply with the judge's order.
“(The tribe) has told QGM contractors and subcontractors not to come to the Iron Horse site, has ordered them to leave the site, and has threatened them with fines, trespassing citations and vehicle impoundment if they enter the reservation without 'access permits,'” George Haley, an attorney for QGM wrote before requesting that the tribe be held in contempt of court for its alleged actions. Alvina Lee, an attorney for the tribe, said the dispute with QGM occurred because the company failed to follow proper procedures when applying for right-of-way access and failed to notify the tribe of the activity it was going to undertake on tribal lands. QGM also did not acquire the necessary air permits from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its work on the Stagecoach plant expansion, Lee said. Uintah Basin Standard