Original post by Danielle Lerner, News 4 Tucson
TUCSON- The controversy surrounding the proposed Sierrita Gas Pipeline continues as local ranchers, county and state organizations share their concerns about the project. The $204 million international pipeline would stretch about 60 miles, starting west of the Tucson Mountains and connecting with lines across the border to deliver natural gas to Mexico.
The comment period for the project’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement, or DEIS, just closed on Monday. Kinder Morgan Incorporated owns the project and says it will create jobs, boost tax revenue and local business. However if you look at some of the comments submitted, it is obvious not everyone sees it that way.
In his comments, Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry calls the DEIS “significantly and fatally flawed,” citing public safety and environmental damage as two of the county’s concerns.
Game and Fish submitted seven pages worth of concerns and proposed mitigations, while the Altar Valley Conservation Alliance said, “the social and environmental damage the proposed pipeline would cause, far outweighs the temporary benefits of employment the construction of the pipeline would provide.”
The Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection finds, “the project’s purpose and need is unclear, and public benefit and necessity is unsubstantiated.”
Local cattle ranchers at King’s Anvil Ranch expressed their concerns too and summed it up by telling Kinder Morgan to “focus on making decisions based on the needs of the valley, and recognizing that trust is gained by actions.”
Kinder Morgan’s Communications Director tells News 4 Tucson this is the exact reason the DEIS is so important, so stakeholders can share their comments and Kinder Morgan can integrate those into the final EIS. As of right now, the company is hoping for final approval in mid-2014, to be up and running by next September.