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Hearings Begin in Oregon for New Gas Pipeline (AUDIO)Salem-News.com
The only Oregon hearings about the Ruby Pipeline project are Tuesday in Malin and Wednesday in Lakeview.
(LAKEVIEW, Ore. ONS) - Hearings are scheduled in Oregon this week about a 670-mile natural gas pipeline proposed to run from Wyoming to southern Oregon. El Paso Corp., owner of the largest gas pipeline system in North America, wants to build the Ruby Pipeline to connect at Malin with a major north-south line.
The company has agreed to bury the 42-inch pipeline in most places, but it means cutting a 50-foot right-of-way through some of the state's most pristine high desert.
Dave Becker, staff attorney for the Oregon Natural Desert Association, says the project cannot help but affect antelope and sage grouse.
"The concern would be that the construction phase - the presence of machinery, the presence of people and the physical destruction within that right-of-way - will cause large swaths of sage grouse habitat to disappear."
El Paso Corp. says it will hire specialists to monitor construction and see that wildlife and Native American cultural sites along the route are protected.
The only Oregon hearings about the Ruby Pipeline project are Tuesday in Malin and Wednesday in Lakeview. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) also will accept written comments until Aug. 10.
Anything that creates jobs is bound to get some support in this economy. However, conservation groups such as Oregon Wild and the Oregon Natural Desert Association are asking the pipeline company to take the longer-term view and select the route that does the least damage to the area. Becker says it is possible.
"There are alternative routes that would avoid both the environmental concerns and the cultural resources concerns. Those alternative routes would be longer and require spending more money, but conceivably that would actually create more jobs."
The company says the reason for building the Ruby Pipeline is to diversify California's energy supply, although the current planned route makes a jog to avoid northeastern California, heading directly from Nevada into Oregon.
The Malin meeting will be held on July 21 at the Malin Community Hall; the Lakeview meeting is July 22 at the Elks Lodge. A pipeline route map is available at rubypipeline.com/docs/Ruby-Map.pdf.
Special thanks to Oregon News Service
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