Local News

Olympic Pipe Line submits its Cross-Cascades application

Cascades pipeline by Jeff Switzer, staff reporter
Olympic Pipe Line Company submitted its application to the Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC) on Feb. 5 for its proposed 227-mile Cross-Cascades pipeline. If it is approved, it will be the first underground petroleum pipeline to be built since Olympic's first one in 1965.
   The project, which would run from north of Bothell to Pasco, will have to undergo a national and state environmental impact (NEPA/SEPA) process, which could take 12 to 18 months.
   In addition to getting approval from EFSEC, the project faces opposition from the Cascade Columbia Alliance environmental groups and from residents who don't want the pipeline constructed in their back yards. The application will eventually cross the Governor's desk for approval.
   The proposed pipeline would be a common carrier of petroleum products, meaning they will carry anyone's product from the Bellingham fuel refinery. As a common carrier, Olympic would have the power of "eminent domain," under which the Revised Code of Washington allows them to condemn the land needed for the pipeline for the greater good of the state.
   To construct the 227-mile pipeline, Olympic needs approximately 1,600 acres, and would allegedly cross 15 acres of wetlands.

Where the pipeline will be constructed
   The proposed underground pipeline could commence construction in November 1997 and would take one year to build. The 12" to 14" plastic-coated steel pipe would lie three to four feet underground.
   When completed, the pipeline would deliver motor gasoline, diesel fuel, and aviation jet fuel from Western Washington refineries across the Cascades to Central and Eastern Washington. If approved, the Cross-Cascades Pipeline would pump approximately 2.5 million gallons to Eastern Washington per day and cost $105 million to construct.
   Olympic's existing 400-mile pipeline runs north-south along the east side of I-405 and I-5, and transports 14.7 million gallons of petroleum products per day from refineries in Bellingham to Seattle and Portland. Built in 1965, it is the only company in Western Washington that moves gasoline and diesel fuel by underground pipeline.