A congressional candidate and his anti-pipeline group vowed Friday to appeal this week's U.S. Forest Service decision that would allow two pipelines through the hills above Bountiful.
"I don't know whether to be angry at the Forest Service or thank them," said Kenley Brunsdale, attorney for a Bountiful anti-pipeline citizens group, "because they've created a perfect appeal for us."At issue is the decision Thursday by Susan Giannetino, supervisor of the Wasatch-Cache National Forest, that would allow not one but two pipelines to be built through five miles of forest land east of Bountiful, including Mueller Park, a popular picnic area.
Two pipeline companies, Kern River Gas Transmission Co. and WyCal Pipeline Co., have been authorized by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to build pipelines that would carry Wyoming natural gas to Southern California customers.
Brunsdale, a Democrat running against incumbent Jim Hansen in the 1st District, said Giannetino's decision is contrary to the National Environmental Policy Act and the Forest Service's earlier positions.
He pointed to a July 30 letter that USFS chief Dale Robertson sent to Rep. Peter Kostmayer, D-Penn., who chaired a House Oversight Subcommittee that investigated the pipeline issue last spring and who had posed several questions to the Forest Service.
Responding to a question about the possibility of two pipelines, Robertson wrote: "We do not believe that the impacts of two pipelines across (forest) lands were adequately addressed.
"We do not think . . . regulations regarding full disclosure and public involvement have been met for two pipelines crossing (forest) lands nor have the cumulative impacts of two pipelines . . . been addressed as prescribed in Forest Service NEPA procedures."
Robertson also wrote that two pipelines were never discussed in the environmental impact statement (EIS) process and that the "Forest supervisor (Giannetino) is undertaking a process to amend the Forest Plan to allow construction of only one pipeline."
Brunsdale said it's clear the Forest Service once believed that the EIS only considered one pipeline and that an EIS supplement would have to be done for a second pipeline.
"It's extremely difficult for me to believe they (USFS) have complied with NEPA to make this kind of conclusion (to allow two pipelines)," he said.
Brunsdale said he and the Bountiful Hills Residents and Concerned Citizens are going to appeal Giannetino's decision to the regional forester.
The candidate also criticized government leaders, particularly Hansen, who have said they were against the pipeline but have failed to stop it.
"There's either some serious insincerities or serious ineffectiveness - I don't know which is worse."