Town of Dinosaur might get natural gas
November 28, 2015
Residents in the town of Dinosaur may have access to natural gas before next winter.
"We're hoping," said Dinosaur Mayor Richard Blakely. "We got a goal set."
Blakely, who said he has been trying to get natural gas piped into Dinosaur for the past seven years, recently has been working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Development Administration and Department of Local Affairs on the latest attempt to bring the fuel to town.
The proposed project would tap into an existing natural gas pipeline five miles south of Dinosaur, but funding needs to be secured before engineering or construction can begin, Blakely said.
"It takes a lot longer for the paperwork than it would to do the project," he said.
To pay for the project, Blakely said the town is applying for a low interest loan with USDA to use as match money on a grant.
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Blakely learned about the financing opportunities when he attended a workshop for coal-reliant communities looking to diversify their economies hosted by National Association of Counties.
"Rich had chance to talk with USDA people right there and they said 'Oh, yeah, we've got monies available to do that and we'd love to help you with that project,'" said Moffat County Commissioner Chuck Grobe. "That's really when the fire got lit underneath Dinosaur again."
Grobe said he thinks finding the matching funds for the grant is the biggest hurdle Dinosaur faces.
"Dinosaur isn't a real rich area," he said. "It will be interesting to see if they can get the industries out there to pitch in a little bit. They'll just have to be creative."
But the town's economic status also qualifies it for low interest USDA loans designed to help rural communities develop infrastructure.
"You have to be low income, which we are," Blakely said, referring to the application process for the loan sought by Dinosaur.
If natural gas were readily available in his town, Blakely estimated residents who switched over from propane or wood could save 50 percent on their heating costs. I could also help promote industry.
"I think it would be a real shot in the arm to promote industry to come in here," Blakely said. "If we can get it through, I think it would be a win-win situation."