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Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014

Proposed collector natural gas lines in Moab area up for public review

By Amy Joi O'Donoghue, Deseret News

Published: Mon, Aug. 18 4:36 p.m. MDT

 The Bureau of Land Management is accepting public comment a proposal to install 25 miles of gathering lines to connect with this main natural gas line in the Moab area.

The Bureau of Land Management is accepting public comment a proposal to install 25 miles of gathering lines to connect with this main natural gas line in the Moab area.

(Amy Joi O'Donoghue, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — A proposed 25-mile network of gathering lines to carry the captured natural gas from existing or new oil wells is up for public review in what promises to be another controversy between environmentalists and industry.

Tension has continued to dominate the interplay among Grand County officials, Fidelity Exploration and Production Co., and environmental groups over the uptick in industry activity on lands adjacent to prime red rock recreation spots outside Moab.

Fidelity wants to put in 25.3 miles of connector lines to its main Dead Horse Lateral Pipeline that is being installed to capture natural gas that was being flared off. Authorities estimate that 456 million cubic feet of natural gas was lost in 2013 from flaring in the Big Flat oil field, or enough gas to supply 236,000 homes.

A draft environmental analysis has been prepared and released by the Bureau of Land Management on the network of proposed collector lines, of which 22.5 miles will be buried and the remainder above ground.

The lines will ultimately help to convey the gas to the main Dead Horse Lateral Pipeline, which will carry it to a new natural gas processing plant near Blue Hills Road off U.S. 191.

Groups such as the Sierra Club have fought against the Dead Horse Pipeline, citing safety concerns and its proximity to Dead Horse Point State Park and Canyonlands National Park, and raising objections over the manner and extent of regulation.

The collector lines are in support of the existing or possibly new 19 wells in the oil field, where horizontal drilling has liberated reserves of oil and breathed new life into government-issued leases from more than five decades ago.

The project also involves the construction of a new road that would run for about a mile to support tanker trucks and other industry-related traffic. The BLM says the new road would allow the truck traffic to bypass the Horse Thief Campground and reduce conflict between outdoor enthusiasts and industry activity.

Environmental groups that include the Sierra Club and the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance are trying to stave off any future drilling or potash mining in the area and pushing for the creation of the Greater Canyonlands National Monument — a proposal involving 1.8 million acres that would halt resource extraction.

At the same time, Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, is cobbling together a public lands initiative that includes both wilderness designations and carving out lands where grazing, drilling and mining are most suitable. Thrown in that mix for Bishop's effort — dubbed the "Grand Bargain" — is land-use planning that also puts in protections with recreation uses in mind.

On this latest turn of industry activity in the Grand County area, the BLM is accepting written comments via letter or email until Aug. 27 on the proposed collector lines. The agency is advising that the most useful comments are those that contain new technical or scientific information.

Written comments may be mailed or emailed to the Bureau of Land Management, Moab Field Office, Attn: Gathering Line, 82 E. Dogwood Ave., Moab, Utah 84532, or blm_ut_mb_comments@blm.gov.

Email: amyjoi@deseretnews.com

Twitter: amyjoi16

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1. itsjustme
Vernal, UT,
Aug. 18, 2014

I say if the East-coast environmentalists want yet another land set-aside in the West, with the creation of the Greater Canyonlands National Monument, then they need to push to have all the land south of Canal Street in New York City returned to its natural state. Then they can push for an Eastern US National Monument in their back yard.

Seems only fair to me that if we in Utah are required to set-aside even more of our land, it's the least they can do in their part of the country.

2. whatever_dude
Truckee, CA,
Aug. 18, 2014

What are you talking about? Canal Street isn't adjacent to national parks and prime recreation lands. And it ain't New Yorkers that use them most. It's mostly locals, like any place.

You ought to know, since you are from Vernal, that enviros and recreationists pretty much gave the industry a free pass to rape and pillage the Uintah Basin, which they did; you'd have to be insane to try to recreate there now. The deal was always that Moab was off limits and critical to Utah's valuable recreation industry. But now--big surprise!--politicians and the oil and gas industry conveniently forgot that part.

People like you will not be satisfied until you get everything and leave absolutely nothing for everybody else. And for what? Is gas any cheaper now that the USA is the largest exporter in the world? No.

Again, big surprise.

3. Stalwart Sentinel
San Jose, CA,
Aug. 18, 2014

itsjustme

"Seems only fair to me that if we in Utah are required to set-aside even more of our land...."

It's not "your" land.

4. byronbca
Salt Lake City, UT,
Aug. 18, 2014

I don't think it's a good idea to permanently scar one of the most beautiful and delicate landscapes in the world for oil. Most places in the world can handle oil extraction with minimal damage to the landscape, Moab is not one of those places. Because Cryptoboitic Soil takes so long to grow every hole they dig and every road they build will be clearly visible for at least the next 200 years.

There are other places in Utah to extract oil, go somewhere else! Someplace not right next to a National Park and a Mecca for outdoor enthusiasts!

5. Razzle2
Bluffdale, UT,
Aug. 18, 2014

@byronbca

This article is not about oil. Did you read the article?