A pipeline is being proposed to pump crude oil from what has been an energy boom region in the Uinta Basin to refineries in Salt Lake. The route would lead the pipeline through parts of Summit County.
The Uinta Express Pipeline is a project currently being proposed by the Uinta Express Pipeline Company, LLC, a subsidiary of Tesoro Refining and Marketing Company, LLC. The pipeline would span 120 to 135 miles and would be comprised of 12-inch underground pipe, according to a Forest Service report.
To view a high-resolution map of the proposed pipeline route and alternatives, click here.
Representatives of Tesoro were not available for an interview until next week, but Larry Lucas, Recreation and Lands Staff Officer with the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, said the forest is intending to provide an environmental impact statement (EIS) of the project.
About 14 miles of the pipeline is located on forest land, and Lucas said the company has been responsible in providing all the adequate information about the pipeline.
"These guys have been doing a good job of doing their homework," Lucas said. "They have been poking around for six to eight months talking to landowners and local governments."
Lucas said at least one oil truck that drives from the Uinta Basin to Salt Lake City every two to eight minutes, and this pipeline would take many of those trucks off the highways.
"From the Forest Service's perspective, recreational visitors on the highway and the wildlife are impacted by heavier highway traffic," Lucas said. "[The pipeline] is a plus."
The pipeline has a proposed route (the northern route) as well as two alternative routes (the East Canyon and southern routes).
The proposed northern route would be 135 miles and would parallel portions of the existing Chevron crude pipeline for the first 40 miles from Francis. It would then bear north toward Coalville, meeting with the Kern River natural gas pipeline up to the top of the Wasatch Range. It would then track west to Bountiful, eventually bearing south to Salt Lake, according to the report.
The alternative East Canyon route would be 135 miles and would follow the northern route for the first 90 miles, then bearing west to Park City. From there, it would parallel East Canyon Creek, joining with the Kern River pipeline to the top of the Wasatch Range, finishing the same as the northern route in Salt Lake.
Finally, the third alternative, the southern route, would be 120 miles, following the northern route for the first 90 miles and roughly paralleling the existing Chevron crude pipeline into Salt Lake, connecting to various refineries.
Lucas said that risks from soil and habitat loss will be fully evaluated in the EIS. The report also says that the pipeline's effects on transportation safety, air quality, visual resources, surface and groundwater quality, noise levels, land use, vegetation and wildlife will also be analyzed.
If approved, the Uinta Express Pipeline would begin construction in late 2015. The company would be required to follow Best Management Practices, Lucas said, and added that company and forest staff will work to address up-front issues to ensure that pipeline ruptures or other incidents do not take place.
Two open house meetings will be held to provide stakeholders and the general public with information about the pipeline:
Wednesday, Feb. 19, 6 to 8 p.m., Wasatch High School, Heber City
Thursday, Feb. 20, 6 to 8 p.m., Bountiful High School, Bountiful
For more information, contact Larry Lucas at 801-999-2157 or through firstname.lastname@example.org . Written comments can be sent to:
Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest Supervisor's Office
Attn: Nelson Gonzalez-Sullow
857 West South Jordan Parkway
South Jordan, UT 84095-8594
Comments can also be sent via e-mail to email@example.com or via fax to 801-253-8118.