Pipeline plan makes landowners jittery
A petroleum company planning to pump crude oil to the Wasatch Front from North Summit had a difficult time last week convincing landowners near Coalville that construction wouldn’t harm their property.
The Porcupine Ridge Pipeline would begin south of Wahsatch near Echo Canyon in Summit County and would nearly parallel an existing pipeline south of Echo Reservoir through Coalville. Texas petroleum company, Holly Energy Partners, hopes the 64-mile pipeline will improve delivery of crude oil to the company’s Davis County refinery.
North Summit residents, however, are leery of the proposal.
"You’re always concerned when somebody comes through and wants to tear up your land," North Summit resident David Wright said, adding that the pipeline would run across nearly a mile of his land. Holly Energy must obtain authorization from several Summit County residents to build on private property.
The new 16-inch pipeline is necessary to remedy supply constraints and continue supplying the Wasatch Front’s growing petroleum needs with the proper grades of crude oil, Holly Energy officials say.
Along with northern Summit County, the project, which is on mostly private land, traverses to West Bountiful through the East Canyon area in Morgan County near where four miles of the underground pipeline would be placed in the Wasatch-Cache National Forest. The U.S. Forest Service conducted a public hearing last week in Coalville to seek feedback on the proposal.
"It goes right through [Coalville], it goes right through Summit County," Coalville Community Development Director Don Sargent said.
Holly began meeting with Summit County about a month ago, said Sargent, who is also a Summit County planner.
A conditional use permit is required before the oil pipeline could be built in Summit County. The project would begin near an interconnection point with the Frontier Pipeline near the Wyoming border.
According to Forest Service officials, the first 24 miles of pipeline would travel in an existing pipeline corridor. West of Coalville, the pipeline travels west toward Davis County for 34 rugged miles. Its maximum elevation is 8,700 feet.
"The pipeline would skirt the periphery of several communities for the last six miles before arriving at the Holly Energy Refinery in West Bountiful," a U.S. Forest Service public notice states.
Holly officials would reportedly construct pumping and storage facilities near the beginning of the pipeline. To help prevent spills, the company intends to construct a pressure reducing station prior to its descent into Davis County. Construction could begin on Forest Service lands in 2007.
The Porcupine Pipeline is expected to reduce the number of trucks hauling petroleum on roads in Northern Utah.
"We’ll be glad to see a lot of trucks taken off the highway," Coalville Planning Commission Al Clark said. "One of these days one of these puppies is going to turn over."
But Holly Energy’s opponents claim several existing crude oil pipelines in the area currently meet Northern Utah’s petroleum needs.
"Is there really a need for another pipeline?" asked Mark Reese, environmental and safety director for Pacific Energy Partners, one of Holly’s competitors. "There is sufficient capacity into the area already."
"Any time you go in and do a major construction project there’s going to be some impacts," Reese added.
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