Salt Lake and Davis county residents think building a pressurized natural gas pipeline could ruin a mountain area above Bountiful and would come uncomfortably close to residential areas in the Salt Lake Valley.
During a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission hearing Wednesday night in the State Office Building, North Salt Lake City Councilman Carlin Jacobson said he believes the $665 million pipeline would threaten his family, as it would be situated only 18 feet away from his home."We are prepared as citizens to prevent that line," he said.
Officials of the Wyoming California Pipeline Co., or WyCal, said during the hearing that the thousand-mile-long pipeline would 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.
"While the environmental impact statement responded to the statutory requirements, it did not address safety concerns properly," said John Newman, West Valley City manager. "Why was the Wasatch variation selected over other alternatives? It appears flora and fauna concerns won over human concerns."
U.S. Forest Service officials had protested a company plan to build the pipeline on an eastern route through Summit County and Wasatch National Forest land, said Ethan H. Gilman, WyCal engineering vice president.
The company has opted for a variation through the Salt Lake Valley. As proposed, a buried 30-inch line would run through South Davis County, entering the Salt Lake Valley near the North Salt Lake oil refinery area and veering south near 56th West.
"The so-called benefits have been studied, but the detriments are being ignored," said Renee Coon of the Bountiful Hills Residents and Concerned Citizens Association.
Mike Lowe, Davis County geologist, said the pipeline construction could spark mudslides in canyons above Bountiful.
The proposal "would affect slope stability. It would pass over inactive landslides and existing landslides," he said.
North Salt Lake Mayor Jake Simmons said the pipeline route would interfere with a recently installed water tank, planned residential growth, a four-lane highway and a school site in his city.
James Huffy, Salt Lake City environmental planner, said that while the city does not oppose the pipeline project concept, it does oppose the plan's impact on the city. The proposed route would interfere with Salt Lake International Airport and sewage treatment plant expansion, and it could collapse during an earthquake because of the valley soil's liquefaction potential.
Other Utah residents along the pipeline's path, such as Milford Mayor Eugene H. Mayer, like the plan. He asked WyCal to consider providing a hookup to the pipeline to serve Beaver County residents with natural gas.
WyCal wants to install approximately 366 miles of pipeline through Utah. It would diagonally cross the state from a point near Evanston, Wyo., and exit near St. George. About 400 million cubic feet of natural gas would move through the pipeline each day. It would take a year to construct, and the Utah portion would cost $226 million, company officials said.
The WyCal proposal follows two others to transport gas to Southern California.
The Kern River Gas Transmission Co. wants to build a line that would follow a similar route. The Mojave Pipeline Co. wants to build a pipeline across Arizona and New Mexico to feed natural gas from Texas and Louisiana to California.