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BLM Takes Comments on Pinedale Pipeline Corridor Expansions

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is taking public comments on a required expansion of several existing gas pipeline corridors out of the Pinedale, WY, area. Multiple gas pipelines have been planned and several corridors will have to be expanded to support gas production growth, BLM said.

Last summer, Shell Exploration & Production Co., Ultra Resources, Anschutz Pinedale Corp., Questar Exploration & Production and other producers notified BLM that they plan to conduct year-round drilling and completions to develop all of their lease holdings within the Pinedale Anticline Project Area in Sublette County, WY. The plans will require a significant increase in pipeline capacity out of the region.

To transport additional gas produced by Questar, Rendezvous Pipeline (Mountain Gas Resources Inc., Western Gas Resources and Questar) is applying for a right-of-way grant from BLM to construct a 98-mile, 30-inch diameter pipeline from the Pinedale Anticline to the Granger and Blacks Fork gas processing plants in Sweetwater and Uinta counties, respectively. Rendezvous also may build a second parallel pipeline of the same size at a later date.

To transport gas produced by Shell and Ultra, TEPPCO is applying for a right-of-way grant to build a 16-mile, 24-inch diameter pipeline from the Mesa compressor station to the Falcon compressor station and another 31-mile, 36-inch diameter pipeline from the Paradise compressor station to the Bird Canyon compressor station that will parallel and be adjacent to the proposed Rendezvous 30-inch pipeline.

From Bird Canyon, TEPPCO also proposes to construct a 44-mile natural gas pipeline to the Opal and Pioneer gas processing plants in Lincoln County. This 44-mile pipeline segment would be constructed within the proposed Bridger Pipeline Corridor (expected to be approved by the BLM in 2006).

The portion of the proposed gas pipeline route from the Pinedale Anticline to the Bird Canyon compressor station mostly parallels the existing 200-foot wide pipeline corridor for the majority of the route, with the exception of a five-mile segment. However, the existing 200-foot-wide corridor is full. For this portion of the proposed action, BLM is considering a 500-foot-wide expansion of the existing corridor.

The proposed Rendezvous pipeline route from Bird Canyon to the Granger and Blacks Fork gas processing plants parallels an existing pipeline corridor. BLM is considering a 300-foot-wide expansion of the existing corridor. And the proposed TEPPCO pipeline route from Bird Canyon to the Pioneer and Opal gas plants also follows an existing corridor that will require expansion. Expansion of this corridor is being analyzed in a separate National Environmental Policy Act document (Bridger Pipeline -- Kemmerer Field Office). Collectively, the proposed natural gas pipelines would cross state highways, numerous roads, Union Pacific railroad tracks, historic trails, and the New Fork, Green, Hams Fork and Blacks Fork Rivers.

The proposed Rendezvous Pipeline would transport natural gas to the existing Mountain Gas Resources Granger Plant in Sweetwater County. The 33.4-acre plant is being expanded by 86.4 acres to accommodate additional natural gas processing.

"We invite the public to submit written comments on the proponent's proposal," said Matt Anderson, project coordinator. "We ask that your comments be constructive, relate directly to this proposal and impending [supplemental environmental impact statement], that you be as specific as possible, and that you cite any data or other information that you believe would assist BLM in developing the most realistic range of alternative actions and the best-informed environmental impact analysis."

The original scoping notice for the SEIS was sent out in October 2005 and the comment period closed Nov. 21, 2005. BLM is reopening the scoping period to capture any comments or concerns pertaining to expansion of the pipeline corridors. To be fully considered, comments must be received by close of business on May 17. For more information, contact Matt Anderson at (307) 367-5328.

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