Thursday, June 12, 2008


How many pipelines running through your neighborhood would you consider enough. How about 23?


What if they wanted to run a couple more by your place.

Get out.

Ruby Pipeline, a natural gas pipeline that’s proposed to run from Wyoming to Oregon, with its route crossing through the southern portion of Cache Valley is one of two proposed new pipelines. The proposed route for the pipeline has drawn vehement opposition from property owners and Cache County leaders.

Concerns have ranged from environmental to property rights to property values.

Some say it is just another "not in my backyard," but it seems to me they already got plenty of crap in their backyards as it is.

Houston-based El Paso Corporation and partners want to build the Ruby Pipeline from Opal in southwest Wyoming to Malin, Oregon, near California’s northern border. It’s designed to move 1.2 billion cubic feet of gas a day with the capability of expanding to 2 billion cubic feet.

Cache County commissioners are opposing a leg of a 680-mile pipeline that would deliver the natural gas from Wyoming to Oregon.

After crossing the Cache National Forest, ranchers say the pipeline would damage and devalue their land and they won't get enough compensation for it.

The company could really care less what the ranchers think.

The company "basically said, 'We're not gonna honor ag protection areas; we're not gonna honor state law; we'll just use federal law, and if we have to condemn, we'll condemn,"' Cache County Executive Lynn Lemon told the Deseret News. "It appears to us that Ruby doesn't really care about the private individual landowners," Lemon said.

``Based upon the information currently available to us, the route as currently proposed can be expected to have a substantial negative impact on private property rights and important agricultural and environmental assets,'' Lemon wrote in a recent letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

The Feds will probably care about as much as the company.

But the fight continues.

Stop the Ruby Pipeline is a coalition of ranchers, farmers, landowners, conservation groups, and private citizens from Northern Utah who are committed to stopping El Paso Corp from constructing a new utility corridor through Rich County, Cache County, and Box Elder County, Utah.

The group says El Paso's proposed 42" natural gas Ruby Pipeline unfairly burden's the private citizens of Northern Utah with the costs and risks of a high pressure natural gas pipeline. The Ruby Pipeline will establish a new utility corridor that devalues the land, endangers people and the environment and will attract more unwanted utility construction in the future.

The Stop the Ruby Pipeline group outlines a number of specific reasons for their opposition:
a. No Significant Utah Benefit
i. Citizens subsidize long term gain of gas company

b. Private Property Impact
i. Primarily cuts through private property in Utah
ii. Cuts through scenic “Greenfield” instead of existing utility corridors
iii. Large scenic ranches/valuable real estate impacted
iv. Situated near existing towns instead of open public ground
v. Ruby saves money in shorter route - Utah subsidizes savings

c. Construction Impact/Aesthetic Impact
i. Pipeline construction easement 200'/ permanent easement 50'
ii. Permanent cleared scar
iii. No buildings or trees over 50' corridor
iv. Erosion problems in many steep areas
v. Compressor stations loud and unsightly in otherwise peaceful areas

d. Earthquake Danger
i. Runs over 10-15 earthquake fault lines, some of which are active
ii. Runs through USGS location labeled “hot zone”
iii. Placed next to earthen dam which is also on fault line
iv. Runs through flood plain if dam breaks

e. Safety Risk
i. Since late 1980's:
(1) 2,200 pipeline accidents,
(2) 225 deaths
(3) 700 million in damage
ii. Ruby parent El Paso was steward of Carslbad NM Pipeline that exploded
killing 12 - negligent inspection/failed pipeline

f. Emergency Resources
i. Would drain vital local resources in event of emergency to remote
ii. Emergency sites may be inaccessible

g. Environmental Hazards
i. Moose, Elk and Deer winter and summer range
ii. Raptor nesting areas
iii. Endangered/sensitive species impacted
(1) Bonneville and cutthroat trout
(2) Sharp tailed sage grouse
iv. Noxious weed spread
(1) Cheatgrass and medusa head rye
(2) Creates fire “corridor”

h. Agricultural Impact
i. Ruby spokesman says federal law will preempt state Agricultural
Protection Area Laws
(1) Proposed route crosses existing APA areas
ii. Impacts conservation-minded generation ranchers and farmers
iii. Acres of disturbed grazing land difficult to reestablish
iv. Crosses existing conservation easements held by State of Utah
v. Disturbs many buried clay drainage lines in Box Elder County
(1) Extremely difficult to correctly reestablish once disturbed
vi. Permanent easement and new roads encourage unauthorized trespass
i. Watershed Damage
i. South Canyon is an important watershed
(1) Relatively undisturbed ecosystem
(2) Little Bear River
(3) Porcupine Dam/Hyrum dam

But money talks and the money will flow through that pipeline to the El Paso Holding Co.

And I won't even get into the issue of the other pipeline today.

The following is from the Salt Lake City Tribune.

Idaho gas line plan rankles Utah pipeline foes

LOGAN - Foes of the proposed Ruby natural-gas pipeline across three northern Utah counties may have another rival for their attention: a second interstate line, comparable in size and capacity, but routed just north of the Idaho state line.

Cache County Council members are concerned that two pipeline projects are proposed in Cache Valley because the valley's north end extends into Idaho. They invited Kent Connelly, chairman of the Lincoln County (Wyo.) Commission to tell them about the projects' impacts.

Connelly's own neighborhood hosts 23 natural gas pipelines. He said Cache Valley residents can expect more pipeline proposals, as well as requests from power-transmission operators to develop new corridors.

Planned jointly by natural-gas companies Williams and TransCanada, the latest proposal, to be known as Sunstone Pipeline, would be a 585-mile, 42-inch-diameter system that can carry up to 1.2 billion cubic feet per day. Completion is scheduled for 2011.

Sunstone would primarily run through Idaho's Franklin County, south of the route of the Williams' Northwest Pipeline System between Wyoming's Opal hub and Stanfield, Ore. There, it would connect with TransCanada's Gas Transmission Northwest pipeline system, terminating at Malin, Ore.

Similarly, El Paso Holding Co. proposes to complete the Ruby Pipeline across northern Utah in 2011 with a 680-mile, 42-inch pipe from Opal to Malin. It would have an initial daily capacity of 1.2 billion cubic feet of natural gas with the option to increase that capacity to 2 billion cubic feet per day.

The Ruby line would run through Utah's Rich, Cache and Box Elder counties just south of the Utah-Idaho line.

Members of a grass-roots group - Stop the Ruby Pipeline - have argued that Ruby would breach private-property rights and environmental stewardship across northern Utah.

But Stop the Ruby Pipeline spokesman Bruce Leishman said his apprehension isn't limited to Ruby, although the Sunstone proposal is more viable because it's near an existing corridor.

"It's a general concern for all [pipelines]," said Leishman, a Logan real-estate agent. "It would diminish the value of property anywhere because it limits what you can do with it, and it limits the pristine nature of what we have out here."

Sunstone spokeswoman Michele Swaner said earlier this week that the Sunstone project is in preliminary stages. The proposed route will cross BLM territory and only a minimal amount of private land in southern Idaho's Franklin County.

"We sent Sunstone Pipeline project packages to 11 landowners in Franklin County, which accounted for 28 parcels of land," Swaner said. "We have been [operating] in the Pacific Northwest and Idaho for 50 years, and we know the communities we serve."

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