September 21, 1998
Impacts found with, without pipeline
by Andrew Walgamott
OLYMPIA--Construction of an underground pipeline from north Bothell to the Tri-Cities would impact fish and wildlife, and its operation may pose minor to major consequences to wetlands, aquifers and rivers if there were a spill, a report released last week says.
But the Washington State Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council's draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) for Olympic Pipe Line Company's proposed Cross-Cascade Pipeline also says that if it weren't built, continued trucking and barging pose similar risks and also identifies a potential rise in traffic accidents due to increased tanker trucks shuttling between Seattle and Eastern Washington.
A 700-page printed version was being mailed out to interested parties as well as being made available at the Duvall, Snoqualmie and North Bend libraries.
Also, it was posted online at www.efsec.wa.gov.
Olympic wants to build the 230-mile pipeline to carry refined gasoline, diesel and aviation fuel.
It would extend Anacortes-area refineries' products into the eastern half of the state.
But opponents say Eastern Washington is well-served by existing pipelines from Montana and Salt Lake City.
Susan Harper, executive director of the Cascade Columbia Alliance, says the DEIS's fatal flaw is in not considering those pipelines as viable alternatives to the project.
Olympic would bury the pipeline under Bonneville Power Administration powerline corridors from a 3.7 acre pump station at Thrashers Corner east to Duvall and south to North Bend.
It would take about a year to build the $105 million pipeline which would eventually transport up to 4.6 million gallons of gas and diesel fuels per day, crossing about 78 wetlands and over 300 rivers, streams and canals on its way over Snoqualmie Pass, the Kittitas Valley and across the Columbia River.
Almost half of the route would be in existing cleared rights of way; another 24 percent would be immediately adjacent to existing rights of way.
"The proposal would reduce the risk of accidental spills during the transfer from one mode of shipment to another, from barges on the Columbia River and in Puget Sound, and from tanker trucks along the I-90 and US Highway 2 corridors," the DEIS reads. "The proposal would create a risk of spill along the pipeline corridor which does not now exist in these areas ..."
Written comments on the DEIS can be sent to Allen Fiksdal, EFSEC manager, P.O. Box 43172, Olympia, WA 98504-3172, or Floyd Rogalski, Project Manager, US Forest Service, 803 W. Second, Cle Elum, WA 98922 before Dec. 17, 1998.
Public meetings are scheduled from 4 to 8 p.m. Nov. 10 at the Jackson High School Cafeteria, 1508 136th St. S.E., Mill Creek.
Another meeting will be held at the same time Nov. 12 at the Mt. Si Senior Center 411 Main Ave. S., North Bend.