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  • Richard opposes proposed natural-gas pipeline routes

    Mar 14, 2013 | Read More News
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    Richard and his Board colleagues voted unanimously on March 12 to oppose both of the natural-gas pipeline routes that Kinder Morgan Inc. seeks through the Altar Valley and Sasabe to Mexico.

    The Board’s resolution also made Pima County a legal intervener in Kinder Morgan’s application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for approval of the pipeline, which requires an environmental study of its impacts.

    Kinder Morgan initially proposed two possible routes for the pipeline, one mainly along State Route 286 the other west of the refuge. The SR 286 route cuts through the heart of the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge and the western route cuts through the heart of Avra Valley, by and through operating ranches and through lands Pima County bought for habitat protection associated with the Multi-Species Conservation Plan of the landmark Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan.

    The Board voted to oppose both routes and to ask the federal agency to require Kinder Morgan to consider other alternate routes to get natural gas via large pipeline to potential users in Mexico. Its resolution said that if one of the only two routes so far considered is chosen, it should be the one that closely follows SR 286.

    As an intervener in the environmental study of the proposal under the National Environmental Policy Act, Pima County experts and attorneys will have access the technical documents associated with the study in detail and in a timely manner. It will have a right to question documents and aspects of documents during the process. It will have a right to take the case to federal court if it  believes a final decision on the pipeline is in error.

    The Kinder Morgan pipeline would be 3 feet in diameter and run 59 miles from an existing line to the border at Sasabe. Installing it underground would leave a permanent barren swath roughly the size of a dirt road on the surface above it. There already are natural-gas pipelines running from Arizona to Mexico at El Paso, Nogales and Yuma.