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Environmentalists Charge Proposed Ruby Pipeline Gas Goes Wrong Way

August 9, 2010

LAS VEGAS - The Nevada route of a pipeline that is being proposed to carry natural gas for BP Energy and other companies is drawing legal protest from local environmentalists who say it will do damage to endangered species and Native Americans, as well as short-changing Nevada when it comes to jobs.

David Hornbeck, chairman of the Toiyabe Chapter of the Sierra Club, says his group is appealing the route proposed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for the Ruby pipeline. Hornbeck says the route does serious damage to Nevada that could be avoided simply by making the pipeline a little longer and sending it across land that is already developed.

"For really a small additional cost relative to the size of this project, they could have used a route as we proposed that is far less damaging to Nevada, and that would bring more jobs to Nevada. "

Backers of the Ruby pipeline have argued that the alternates to the routes they proposed would be too expensive. Hornbeck says the BLM seems to have accepted that argument even though, he says, pipeline supporters have never backed up that claim. That is one of many reasons Hornbeck says he filed the appeal.

He says the proposed route adversely impacts wildlife and Native American sites. He says Nevada shouldn't have to sacrifice for the profit of a gas pipeline company.

"It would damage and cause the loss of a number of endangered species of fish in those areas, as well as crossing over some 800 cultural sites that are important to our various Indian tribes, in that area of the pipeline."

The Ruby pipeline is being proposed to carry natural gas for BP Energy and other companies from Wyoming to Oregon and would serve no customers in Nevada. The appeal argues that, rather than running it across 358 miles of wild habitat, it should be shifted closer to the I-80 corridor, a move that would add 55 miles to the length of the pipeline. Hornbeck says building those extra miles would mean more jobs for Nevadans.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NV