WOODS CROSS - South Davis city leaders say they don’t have enough information about the proposed Tesoro Pipeline and are concerned the pipeline will be used to increase production at area refineries.
Deadline for public comment on the 135-mile proposed pipeline was Monday, March 17.
Representatives of all five south Davis County cities signed a letter to the U.S. Forest Service as part of that public comment period detailing their concerns and asking for more information on the project.
Plans for the pipeline are still in the preliminary stages and an Environmental Impact Statement on the project won’t be out for another year
The pipeline will begin in the Uinta Basin and run to the refineries in south Davis and Salt Lake counties if approved.
Most of the pipeline will be on U.S. Forest Service land. The entire project will be underground, except for an occasional valve, Tesoro representatives said at an open house held last month. If built as proposed however, the pipeline will run down 400 North in Bountiful.
The planned route will take the pipeline down to the Legacy trail and south to meet Holly and Tesoro refineries,
Company officials say the pipeline is designed to handle 60,000 barrels of waxy crude oil a day and would take 250 trucks off Utah roadways.
However, in their letter to the Forest Service, city officials from North Salt Lake to Centerville say it appears the purpose of the pipeline is “more about increasing the capacity to move crude oil than it is about a safer and more efficient route.”
“We want to know what their plans are,” said Woods Cross City Manager Gary Uresk who penned the letter. “If you go out and spend time in the (Uinta) Basin, you know they want to ramp (production) up,” he said. “I’m hearing from the basin there’s a potential for a whole lot of oil.”
A transportation study on the Uinta Basin and its energy production shows the annual oil production increasing from 18 million barrels in 2012 to about 60 million in 2042, the letter said.
“With this type of production increase, additional pipelines and additional trucks will be required to move the crude oil to the refineries,” the letter said. “This pipeline is only the beginning of an incremental process to expand transportation capacity for the movement of crude oil from the Uinta Basin to the Wasatch Front.”
City leader also complained about the lack of information provided them on the route.
“We want more information,” Uresk said.
When Tesoro representatives met with the cities, the maps they brought were so small, the route wasn’t readily discernible.
“The scale of the map presented at the open house did not show the specific location of the pipeline in our communities, making it impossible for us to determine how it will affect our streets, utilities, open space and other facilities,” the letter said.
That meant area residents attending the open house were also unable to determine how it would affect them.
The letter went to say larger maps were shown to municipalities, providing more detail, “but the maps were not left for review. We should have full and open access to all maps and documents supporting the proposed project.”
Uresk noted the public comment period was just the first phase of a year and a half long process.
“We understand it’s a lengthy process,” Uresk said, He said he hopes through that process city leaders get some answers.