October 8, 2008

Meetings Scheduled for Pipeline Plan

By Jasen Lee Deseret News

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will hold two meetings in northern Utah this month regarding the 680-mile Ruby Pipeline, and residents who live in the proposed path of the natural-gas pipeline will have their chance to speak out on the controversial project.

The first meeting is scheduled for Oct. 15 at 6:30 p.m. at the Hyrum Civic Center. The second open house is slated for Oct. 16 at the Brigham City Senior Center at 7 p.m.

The commission plans to prepare an environmental impact statement on the pipeline that El Paso Corp. wants to build. The pipeline would run for 677 miles through Wyoming, Utah, Nevada and Oregon. The project also would involve building four new compressor stations and related facilities.

Houston-based El Paso Corp. has said the pipeline would begin in Opal, Wyo., and travel through Utah's Rich, Cache and Box Elder counties and across Nevada before ending in Malin, Ore., near California's northern border. The pipeline would transport natural gas to local utilities that provide service to individual homes, small and large businesses and electric generating plants in California, Nevada and Oregon.

The $2 billion pipeline would transport 1.2 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day and could be expanded to 2 billion cubic feet, according to El Paso spokesman Richard Wheatley.

The proposed route for the pipeline drew criticism at an April open house in Logan. Some local ranchers said they worried that the pipeline would damage their land. They also expressed concerns that they would not be fairly compensated for their property and any damage.

Dan Gredvig, El Paso's land and right-of-way supervisor, said the company understood those concerns and would work diligently to address them in a manner that would benefit the approximately 200 landowners who would be affected.

The Cache County Council in April voted unanimously to oppose the project. Wheatley said El Paso has no intention of "pushing anything down anyone's throat" and would try to address any concerns that landowners and stakeholders may have.

Pending approval by the commission, construction on the pipeline would begin in the first quarter of 2010, with completion expected a year later, Gredvig said.

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