Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
LOGAN, Utah (AP) -- The Cache County Council has approved rezoning to allow a planned natural gas pipeline to run through 18 miles of rural farmland in northwest Utah.
The $3 billion Ruby Pipeline project by El Paso Corp. would run 680 miles from Wyoming to Oregon, passing through portions of Utah and Nevada.
The council voted 6-1 Tuesday in favor of a utility overlay zone allowing the pipe to run through the primarily agricultural area.
El Paso has paid property owners for the land the line will run across.
Councilman Cory Yeates cast the sole "no" vote, saying he doesn't think the full scope of possible impacts has been considered. He also expressed safety concerns.
"It's just a huge project," he said. "I understand technology has made some tremendous gains. The pipelines are as safe as they can be right now, but still accidents happen."
The pipeline is designed to convey up to 1.5 trillion British Thermal Units of gas per day. For comparison, the power of a typical stovetop gas range is about 10,000 BTUs.
Paradise resident Marc Ensign, who lives about two miles from the proposed line, also has safety concerns. He presented council members photos of past deadly pipeline disasters in other parts of the country. He was one of two residents who spoke against the project.
Councilman Gordon Zilles said he, too, was worried about the project's safety, but changed his mind after learning about precautions the company is taking.
"Of course if an explosion were to happen, it would be disastrous. It would probably kill some people in Paradise," Zilles said.
But he said the risk is small, adding that gas lines, though not as large as the pipeline, are everywhere.
"That same thing can happen outside your house," Zilles said.
With the rezone in hand, El Paso now needs a conditional use permit to build. The application for that permit has already been submitted, and a hearing before the planning commission is expected before year's end, county officials said.
Information from: The Herald Journal
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)