SOUTH DAVIS RESIDENTS OPPOSE PLAN FOR NATURAL GAS PIPELINE
SPEAKERS AT PUBLIC HEARING SAY FEDERAL REGULATORS SHOULD ALLOW THE PIPELINE TO PASS THROUGH NATIONAL FOREST LANDSThe Federal Energy Regulatory Commission should drop plans to build a high-pressure natural gas pipeline through South Davis County, residents and government leaders said at a public hearing Tuesday night.
"If you were honest about it, you would realize the Wasatch Variation is just no good and the people that live here don't want it," said Athalie Yeiter, spokeswoman for a group of Bountiful and North Salt Lake residents. "Don't put it here."The hearing, held in the auditorium of the State Office Building, addressed a supplemental environmental impact statement dealing with a preferred route and three alternative paths for the 30-inch gas pipeline through South Davis County.
Wyoming California Pipeline Co., or WyCal, has proposed to build the 1,000-mile-long pipeline to carry natural gas from southwest Wyoming to oil fields near Needles, Calif. The natural gas would be used to produce steam, which would in turn be injected into oil wells to increase output.
South Davis government leaders and residents said federal regulators should allow the pipeline to pass through national forest lands in Summit, Wasatch and Utah counties, as originally proposed, rather than through the Salt Lake Valley.
They said increased landslide potential caused by pipeline construction, watershed contamination, mountain scarring and danger to residents because of pipeline proximity to schools, homes and business are reasons to abandon proposed routes through Davis County.
Centerville Mayor Dean C. Argyle expressed opposition to the Pages Lane alternative pipeline route through his city, saying it would pass near a major commercial area, an elementary school, homes and churches. Other alternative routes pass through Bountiful and Farmington.
"It would have a devastating impact on our community," he said, "There are better alternatives with less impact on Centerville socially and environmentally."
Barry Burton of the Davis County Planning Commission and Mike Lowe, Davis County geologist, voiced objections because the preferred pipeline route would impact Holbrook, Millcreek and North Canyons where landslides occurred during the 1983 floods.
"It doesn't make sense at all to put this across three canyons," Lowe said, noting that erosion from construction, along with flowing water, could trigger landslides.
Dave Brown, representing both the Sierra Club and Bountiful neighbors, faulted the impact statement because it did not address the powers of eminent domain the pipeline company would have once it receives federal approval. He said it would difficult to go through "good faith" negotiations when pipeline companies are given eminent domain powers.
Bob Arvedlund, with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, said that residents' concerns were being heard despite claims the commission had ignored the original route through Utah forest land. He said the public needs to convince Uinta National Forest Service officials to change their minds if that route is to be considered.
"The variation was created because of local concern by a local federal agency," Arvedlund said.
The Forest Service had rejected the proposal because of environmental impact in the Uinta National Forest. Federal regulators also found land stability problems along the route.
The final supplemental impact statement on the pipeline proposals is due out Oct. 1. All written comments about the draft supplement should be sent to Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 825 N. Capitol Street, NE, Washington, DC, 20426 before Sept. 12.