News, April 23rd

LAWSUIT OVER ASPEN MOUNTAIN COLLISION

Aspen—A collision between two skiers on Aspen Mountain last month is now going to court.  Thomas Waltner of Basalt filed suit yesterday against Chris Cote for allegedly violating the Colorado Skier Safety Act.  Waltner says Cote was skiing out of control while coming down the Little Nell run on Ajax before crashing into him.  Waltner says he suffered multiple, serious injuries that could cause permanent damage.  He says the injuries are bad enough he may not be able to go back to his normal, active lifestyle.

TWO OIL AND GAS COMPANIES SHELLING OUT MORE IN FINES

Aspen—Two oil and gas companies have been ordered to cough up about a million dollars combined to settle a gas lease case.  SG Interests of Houston, Texas and Gunnison Energy Corporation each paid about 275 thousand dollars at the end of last year and agreed not to bid against each other at four gas lease auctions.  A federal judge stepped in and said no to the antitrust settlement. The companies were also ordered to pay additional money to settle claims under the False Claims Act which says companies cannot lie to the government for financial gain.  Neither company is admitting guilt.  SG Interests paid an additional 206 thousand dollars while Gunnison Energy agreed to pay another 245 thousand dollars.

DANGEROUS CHEMICALS BEING PUMPED OUT OF PARACHUTE CREEK

Parachute—The drinking water is still safe to drink in Parachute. According to the latest reports from the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and officials from Williams Company, special aerators are being used to flush out dangerous chemicals like benzene out of Parachute Creek.  The chemicals were discovered downstream from the hydrocarbon spill in Parachute.  Inspectors with the C-O-G-C-C announced last week that benzene was detected in the creek since the spill was first reported on March 16th.  In addition, crews with Williams have expanded the pumping of hydrocarbons from trenches dug along Parachute Creek which flows into the Colorado River.

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