Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Xcel Energy holds its first public meeting regarding the proposed 24-inch Cherokee Natural Gas Pipeline Project

Only a hand full of residents attended the Xcel open house meeting regarding the proposed 24-inch Cherokee Natural Gas Pipeline Project on Tuesday, June 7th. The proposed project is to impact the communities including: Adams County, Brighton, Commerce City, Lochbuie, Fort Lupton and Weld County.

But those who did attend the Xcel open house voiced their concerns with certainty. Safety was at the fore front of the discussion. During the public meeting, Xcel explained the proposal to construct an approximately 34 miles of new, 24” steel gas transmission pipeline from a new Ft. Lupton gas metering facility to the Cherokee Generating Station. Construction on the new natural gas pipeline would begin in 2013 with an anticipated in-service date of Oct. 1, 2014.

One resident at the public meeting asked the hard question of what the “blast radius” would be on this 24-inch type of a pipeline if it happens to explode, the answer was a surprising estimate of 400 to 500 feet (depending on many factors). Other concerns raised included the many 90-degree angles in the proposed pipeline route, stating that where there are angles, there are potential hazards, suggesting a straighter alternative pipe-line route would be safer. Long-time Commerce City resident Gene Leffel wanted to hear from Xcel in a public setting that when they impact his property (driveway) they will not damage it and neglect to fix it, as he says they have in the past. Other concerns brought up by Commerce City Council member Jadie Carson was that she wants Xcel to keep safety before cost. An Xcel representative stated that Xcel is very firm that this state-of-the-art pipeline will not explode and safety is the priority.

This meeting was only the first of Xcel's public outreach effort on this proposed project. Many more public community outreaches will be held in the near future, including one meeting in the Reunion area of Commerce City. It is important to remember this project is still in the very beginning stages and nothing is set in stone as of yet.

Xcel will still have to go through the permit/planning process with all of the communities that it plans to impact. One option these municipalities have is to make the permit/planning process difficult by not granting permits. This will most likely result in the PUC (Public Utility Commission) and the court system getting involved into the situation, thus causing at least major delays.

When considering possible routes for the natural gas pipeline, some of the criteria and considerations Xcel takes into account include:

-Areas where we currently have rights of ways (ROW) or utilities easements exist. Using these areas also helps minimize risk of third-party damage to the pipeline.
-High population areas
-Wetlands and water use
-Recreation areas, such as parks
-Special status species
-Additional environmental issues

The Gateway News will post all of the newly announce public meetings about the Cherokee Natural Gas Pipeline Project…

Click here to visit the Cherokee Natural Gas Pipeline Project website for more information including maps of all the routes…


  1. 400 to 500 ft. blast zone? Thats pretty big for 24 inches, thought it would be more like 100 feet.

    It does depend on a lot of factors, pressure in pipe, where the blast happens, etc.


  3. Commerce City could just do what the rail road does and just not work with Xcel at all, they seem to get away with it.