The city will not assist residents who want to mount a federal court appeal of a decision to allow a pressurized natural gas pipeline run through their neighborhoods.
The City Council voted 3-1 Wednesday night against lending support to the Bountiful Hills Residents and Concerned Citizens Association proposal to appeal a decision made by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The commission voted last Wednesday to deny a petition for rehearing from the residents and five other organizations.The groups had asked that the commission reconsider a permit it issued in January to allow Wyoming-California Pipeline Co., or WyCal, to build the controversial 1,000-mile pipeline from Wyoming to California.
City Manager Tom Hardy told the council that the process of appealing for judicial review of a federal agency can be very costly and time-consuming. He said that an appeal would have to include retention of expert witnesses. The city has already spent $8,000 in legal costs in the matter.
"From the staff standpoint, the commission has spoken. Convincing a court to overturn and set aside a decision is difficult at best," Hardy said.
Councilman Harold Shafter, who voted for the proposal, said that the city should stand behind the residents in absence of help from Gov. Norm Bangerter's administration.
"We are a little better than the governor. I just can't see backing off and walking away. We need to support our people and stand behind them," he said.
Councilman Keith Barton said that he believed that the council should support efforts of Rep. Jim Hansen, R-Utah, to get legislation through Congress that would mandate the pipeline take an alternate route through the Uinta National Forest.
"Our best efforts would be to help Representative Hansen get legislation passed," Barton said.
Hardy said that he believed that supporting Hansen's efforts and negotiating route changes with the pipeline company would bear more fruit than a legal challenge.
Millard Wyatt, a legislative assistant with Hansen, said Thursday that he had misspoken last week when he told the Deseret News that a bill would be filed forcing a change in the pipeline route within a week.
"We are still trying to work out a negotiated compromise (with the Forest Service)." Wyatt said. "The bill is a last resort at this point."
The residents have announced a meeting about the pipeline appeal at 7 p.m. March 28 at Woods Cross High School choral room. Bangerter, Hansen, local representatives and mayors have been invited.