Disappointed by the Forest Service's decision to allow two natural gas pipelines through Mueller Park above Bountiful, the City Council voted this week to appeal the decision.
But the council refused Councilwoman Renee Coon's motion that asked the city to donate $200 to her anti-pipeline citizens group, which is fighting the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.That appeal is being handled by attorney Kenley Brunsdale, a Democrat challenging incumbent Rep. James Hansen in the 1st Congressional District, and has been a source of contention between Mayor Bob Linnell and Coon.
While Coon says the regulatory commission appeal is one of the last hopes of stopping the pipeline, the mayor says he does not want to involve the city in the Hansen-Brunsdale race.
Coon, who supports Brunsdale because of his stand against the pipeline, said she believes the mayor is politicizing the race by not supporting the court appeal.
"In reality, in my opinion, it's political and has been from the beginning," Coon said. "(Linnell) does not want to make Kenley Brunsdale look good."
Nevertheless, the city will write to Susan Giannettino, Wasatch-Cache National Forest supervisor, asking her to reconsider her decision last week that would allow two pipelines through 5 1/2 miles of forest land above Bountiful, which includes the popular Mueller Park.
Two pipeline companies, Kern River Gas Transmission and WyCal, have been certified by the regulatory commission to build pipelines that would carry gas from Wyoming to California, where it would be used primarily to extract oil from fields near Bakersfield.
Though the environmental-impact studies only took into account one pipeline, it is possible that two pipelines could be built, a possibility that doesn't sit well with Bountiful officials, who have opposed the "Wasatch Variation," the commission-approved route through Davis County.
"The Forest Service had represented to us all along that there would be only one pipeline," Linnell said. "They've totally reversed and lost some credibility. . . . Our concern is that the next step is they could make a utility corridor up there and run anything they want to through our watershed."
If the appeal to Giannettino fails, the city may pursue an appeal to the U.S. Forest Service in Washington, D.C.