BLM reissuing Ruby Pipeline right-of-way after new environmental review ordered by 9th Circuit

Amy Atwood, a senior attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity, says it best in a quote below: the BLM is “using American taxpayers’ money to do the bidding for big business with little regard for the public interest.”  For people new to the wild horse issue, the Ruby Pipeline cut will across, and near, areas that were designated as federally protected areas for the wild horses:  their Herd Management Areas.   –  Debbie Coffey

SOURCE: Tribtown.com

by Scott Sonner, Associated Press

RENO, Nevada — Federal land managers intend to reissue a right of way for a 678-mile mile natural gas pipeline from Wyoming to Oregon now that government scientists have completed a second environmental review they say corrects deficiencies in the first one struck down by a U.S. appeals court.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management published a new record of decision in the Federal Register on Thursday and issued a revised final supplemental environmental impact statement for Kinder Morgan’s Ruby Pipeline.

Environmentalists who filed a lawsuit in an unsuccessful effort to block construction of the pipeline built in 2010 said they were reviewing the new documents but still found them to be inadequate and will consider further legal action.

“This was an illegal pipeline that never should have been built,” said Amy Atwood, senior attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity, which brought the original lawsuit along with Defenders of Wildlife and Summit Lake Paiute Tribe in northwest Nevada.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled in the groups’ favor in October 2012, concluding that BLM and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hadn’t done enough to ensure protection of the threatened Lahontan cutthroat trout and other rare fish in Wyoming, northern Utah, northern Nevada and southern Oregon.

It also agreed with their claims the agency had failed to provide enough information about the cumulative loss of sagebrush habitat that the sage grouse and other species depend upon in the Great Basin and high desert.

BLM said in issuing the new review Thursday it includes more detailed information about cumulative habitat loss. But agency officials said they were sticking to their original conclusion that mitigation measures required as part of the right of way are sufficient to offset the significant environmental impact anticipated for a number of species, including the sage grouse and the fish.

“The direct and indirect impacts of the project remain the same,” BLM said in the final supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) issued Thursday. “Because there are not impacts in excess of those discussed in the final EIS, no additional mitigation is described” in the new review.

The pipeline has been transporting natural gas from the Rocky Mountain area to the Pacific Northwest and Northern California since July 2011. It runs from Opal, Wyoming, south of Logan, Utah, into Nevada north of Elko and Winnemucca before terminating in Malin, Oregon, near the California line.

Ruby Pipeline LLC voluntarily agreed to a dozen conservation measures intended to mitigate the impacts on the fish, including reseeding and replanting shrubs in disturbed areas, constructing fish migration barriers and restoring riparian vegetation along streams.

Richard Wheatley, a spokesman for Morgan Kinder in Houston, said in an email to The Associated Press after BLM’s announcement Thursday, “We are pleased with the result.”

Atwood, based in Portland, Oregon, questioned how much effort the BLM put into the supplemental review ordered by the appellate court.

“They are using American taxpayers’ money to do the bidding for big business with little regard for the public interest,” she told AP on Thursday.

“I’m sure there was some additional regulation of it by BLM that would not have happened without our case. But their message, frankly, is they are going to continue to do business as usual until forced to do otherwise.”

27 comments on “BLM reissuing Ruby Pipeline right-of-way after new environmental review ordered by 9th Circuit

  1. Our Government will not be satisfied until all the land is dead and all the creatures on it are destroyed.Then ir will be to late for the big OOPS.
    Government of the People has got to be addressed.
    Do we have a tax payer revolt?
    Throw our tax dollars into the Boston Harbor,recall all the Politicians from office?
    Let being a representative of the PEOPLE be a non profit job?

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  2. I read El Paso had the option of running the pipeline on land that had already been disturbed, but didn’t. Does anyone have info on why they chose to destroy undisturbed land?

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  3. Is this the same area where they are planning to round up 164 horses? No wonder they are trying to do that even though this herd is well within the appropriate management level. The BLM is so corrupt. How can Sally Jewell call herself an environmentalist and a steward of the land? She is a greedy politician who puts big business before the environment and the public. Such a shame.

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  4. Throw all those for fracking into Boston Harbor ! First make them drink the contaminated water and see how they like methane, benzene, etc. Franking will destroy what little potable water is left.

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  5. I’m sorry to keep repeating myself here. Capitalism is totally dependent on energy to function, especially oil. The last significant source of oil is the Canadian tar sands however it will take six times the amount of natural gas to release the oil we get. Fracking is part of the process to get the gas to strip the oil from the sand. The real stupidity of our system is the fact that as we run out of energy we will betray the one hope we have for any kind of future, horses. 100 years ago we had no oil and horses 100 years from now we will have no oil or horses. We can forget global warming there isn’t enough oil left to worry about it. Trees, grass and horses are the future. Bet on it.

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  6. I was a little disappointed in the HLN report last night – seems to me they could have used the time spent on some British group & expanded on Carol Walkers segment.
    But she did a good job – made a good point – and showed the pictures she took of the horses standing motionless in the snow.

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  7. Pretty simple. We won Government tax dollars to Care for wukild horses that instead Contaminated the Minds of Greedy Special Interests, Cattle men, Kill Buyers and BLM Fat Cats and Associates. Not really any.different than Sue Wallis holding public office while furthering her special interest in her slaughter campaign which is for personal Finacial Gains. She is pointing the fingers at politicians protecting animal welfare which do not gain financially. Where did the unlawful get to get on the free ride train.

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  8. “O” magazine has an excellent article on fracking in WY, I believe it was the Nov. issue.

    Rolling Stone also has an article on Obama’s NOT being the “environmental” president that, as a Progessive individual, is who I voted for. Obama has continued the destruction of our environment instead of finding alternative energy sources. Any oil that comes out of the XL Pipeline will be shipped to China anyway.

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  9. Thank You from Rock Springs, Wyoming
    My home. I am an advocate who lives here.
    See the Wild Horses in Wyoming for all updates..they plan to remove more”

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  10. I think what states like Wyoming and Montana want to do is have half of it for fracking and oil drilling and the other half for the cattle and sheep. No other wildlife including wolves or horses allowed. According to all that has happened that will be the way things will end up.

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  11. So what is to be done? I suggested a Class Action, but so far I am told it will be thrown out of court. How do you take back a democracy that has been stolen by capitalism, corruption, and greed?

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  12. This is interesting.

    Ruby Pipeline Plans Offering of Unsecured Notes: New Issue Alert
    By Tim Catts – Nov 3, 2011

    Ruby Pipeline LLC, a joint venture of El Paso Corp. (EP) and Global Infrastructure Partners, is among issuers planning to sell at least $4.78 billion of bonds in the U.S., according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

    UNION NATIONAL BANK PJSC, the lender majority-owned by Abu Dhabi Investment Council, may sell 5-year notes in a benchmark offering, according to a person familiar with the transaction who declined to be identified because terms aren’t set. The notes may yield about 287.5 basis points over the mid-swaps rate, the person said.

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  13. The link didn’t post the first time

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-11-03/ruby-pipeline-plans-offering-of-unsecured-notes-new-issue-alert.html
    Ruby Pipeline Plans Offering of Unsecured Notes: New Issue Alert
    By Tim Catts – Nov 3, 2011
    Ruby Pipeline LLC, a joint venture of El Paso Corp. (EP) and Global Infrastructure Partners, is among issuers planning to sell at least $4.78 billion of bonds in the U.S., according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
    UNION NATIONAL BANK PJSC, the lender majority-owned by Abu Dhabi Investment Council, may sell 5-year notes in a benchmark offering, according to a person familiar with the transaction who declined to be identified because terms aren’t set. The notes may yield about 287.5 basis points over the mid-swaps rate, the person said.

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  14. http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2011/09/21/18690942.php

    RUBY PIPELINE GOES ONLINE, PLANS FOR EXPORT OF NATURAL GAS TO ASIAN MARKETS
    Wednesday 21st, 2011

    The Ruby Pipeline is now online, scheduled to begin extracting (fracking) natural gas from around Opal, Wyoming and transporting to Malin, OR. There are also possilbe plans there for connections to the proposed Pacific Connector pipeline to export the Rocky Mt. natural gas to Asian markets, thus driving up the price for CA consumers. This is the same El Paso natural gas corporation that jacked up the prices during the ENRON energy “crisis” where inflated natural gas prices nearly bankrupt the state and caused rolling blackouts.

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  15. Has Western Watersheds done anything about The Ruby Pipeline? They seem to have the best track record winning environmental lawsuits, and I think they already received a judgement against El Paso in a different area.

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  16. http://www.rubypipeline.com/docs/RR/RR3_Docs/ContactReports.pdf

    Jungo Tuscarora – Opportunities and Constraints

    OPPORTUNITIES
    Agencies stated there would be a
    reduced number of required
    construction windows
    Eagle Lake Field Office – Buffalo
    Skedaddle Area, Sagebrush
    conservation area, cultural survey

    CONSTRAINTS
    Eagle Lake Field Office – Buffalo
    Skedaddle Area, Sagebrush
    conservation area, cultural survey

    Compliance with the California
    Environmental Quality Act

    From: Nieuwenhuizen, Ilja [mailto:INieuwenhuizen@ene.com]
    Sent: Mon 12/8/2008 2:39 PM
    To: Travis Hawks
    Subject: Requirements for pipeline hydrostatic testing
    Hi Travis,
    We spoke on the telephone several weeks ago regarding the proposed Ruby
    Pipeline and potential impacts to Lahontan cutthroat trout in the Summit Lake
    and Quinn River areas. Thanks again for the input. At the moment I am
    addressing states’ requirements for hydrostatic pressure testing of the pipe. As
    you may know, hydrostatic testing is performed when sections pipe that have
    been welded together (1-20 miles or longer), usually before it has been lowered
    into the ground and covered.

    This process involves filling the pipe with water and
    bringing it to high pressure level. Ruby is currently analyzing where it may be
    able to withdraw water. If there are no suitable waterbodies to withdraw from,
    other sources such as wells would be considered.

    Agency consultations will
    factor heavily in designating suitable water sources for use during hydrostatic
    pressure testing.

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  17. And this was why Calico happened. The Ruby Pipeline. Cut right across pristine land, tearing it up into nothing. They could’ve chosen a slightly more expensive route and not ripped up the land but oh no they couldn’t do that.

    So some 100 horses died as a result. Courage and Hope had their feet ripped off. Many mares “miscarried” (the PROPER term is ABORTED)their late term pregnancies and for what?

    And we’re still being not listened to? Geez, what will it take for Washington to listen?

    Here’s an interesting analogy. Target screwed up and somehow 40 million of us our credit card/atm cards are now at risk. Like our addresses etc being let out, plus the cvv code on the back. I tried calling that 866 number and found it busy. So I called my bank and in less than 10 mins I’m once again secure. My bank listened,. Why won’t Washington?

    Sally Jewell also doesn’t math. How do horses who supposedly have a birth rate of 20% per year–now DOUBLE in size every 3 1/2 years. The math is so off it isn’t even funny. Where did this woman go to school? I want to know so we can send all her old teachers back to math class. It was bad enough when it was 4 years now its 3 1/2. At least BLM is again quoting 20% and not the 23% they have been for the past year or so…

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  18. But Wait….there’s more

    PENSION FUNDS.
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-03/kinder-morgan-s-110-million-el-paso-settlement-approved.html

    Pension Funds (Goldman Sachs’s role in Kinder Morgan’s buyout of El Paso drew investors’ and the judge’s ire because of the bank’s ties to both companies.)

    Pension funds from Louisiana, Florida and New York that invested in El Paso argued Goldman Sachs bankers helped Richard Kinder, the firm’s chief executive officer, take the pipeline operator private in 2006. At one time, Goldman Sachs had designees in two Kinder Morgan board seats because of its ownership stake in the energy company.

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  19. July 9, 2012

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-09-07/kinder-morgan-to-pay-110-million-to-settle-el-paso-suits.html

    Kinder Morgan Inc. will pay $110 million to end lawsuits by investors over its purchase of gas- pipeline owner El Paso Corp. in a settlement that includes concessions by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS), according to court papers

    Kinder Morgan, the biggest U.S. pipeline operator, agreed to settle claims that El Paso investors were shortchanged in the $21.1 billion buyout,

    The settlement comes after Kinder Morgan officials said in July that second-quarter profit fell as the pipeline company cut the value of some of its assets it agreed to sell to obtain regulatory approval for the El Paso acquisition. Net income fell to $153 million from $230 million a year earlier, officials said July 18.

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  20. Let’s look at this from a historical point of view. Secretary Salazar signed this right-of-way on July 14, 2010, while wild horse advocates were tied up in knots over the horses at Owyhee were run in 95 degree heat after having been fenced off from water for several days at least. Several died from dehydration as well as rehydration. At the time we knew that BP was part of the worst environmental disaster in the history of the United States, and Secretary Salazar was on the payroll of the tax payers of the United States.

    I am sure that it is just a coincidence, but BP has now changed ownership and Secretary Salazar has changed jobs. There is much more to this story, but won’t go into it here. But it continues to amaze me just how much work federal official do to enable the company’s that they plan to work for to profit from our natural resources during their terms of office.

    Of all the groups initially consulted including the Sierra Club that I believe may have been paid off for not objecting to the pipe-line, only El Paso Land Co. expressed any concern about the wild horses habitat that might be lost.

    I hope that folks wake up to the fact that this President’s environmental policies are anything but green when it comes to his largest funders. President Clinton and VP Al Gore put the structure in place for what is happening now to happen, but the part that affects wild horses and burros did not go into effect until 2005. It was not until Secretary Ken Salazar decided to use the sovereign statutory authority of international law 1997 Update of the International Plant Protection Convention to remove our NATIVE wild horses and burros as alien, invasive, pests (of plants) in 2009 that the public has been able to observe the efforts of USDA and FWS led efforts to eradicate our wild horses and burros as if they were Japese beetles.

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  21. American tax payers subsidize solar and wind energy while President Obama’s and President Clinton’s common supporters are bringing home the bacon from decisions to use or not use the natural resource wealth of the U.S. If coal is so bad, why is the President planning to mine the coal in Utah? Only Appalachian coal is bad because Appalachian coal mines are privately owned and the President can’t get a carbon tax passed. Coal produced on public land comes with a de facto carbon tax.

    Open your eyes, folks. Not trying to be ugly, but our inability to conceive the inconceivable has left our horses and burros, rights to public and private horse capable land vulnerable. And unless the courts and Congress intervene, we face loosing them and all they represent.

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  22. Someday soon I hope, this country will need a revolution. I believe if we only talk, we will lose what is dear to this country. We need rope and lots of it, since the trees will be gone and we’ll be stringing them up on pipelines.

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    • We need to cut their heads off again but I would modify the Guillotine this time to sever the hands first for taking and stealing so they can watch them fall in the basket of heads before their beheading.

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