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Toiyabe Chapter
Nevada and Eastern California
PO Box 8096
Reno, NV 89507

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Ruby Natural Gas Pipeline Project would cut through nearly pristine desert land

Ruby Pipeline, LLC, (hereafter termed “Ruby”) has proposed a 672-mile natural gas pipeline of which 360 miles are proposed in northern nevada, mostly through public land. The pipeline would stretch from opal, Wyoming to a terminus at malin, oregon, a major hub for natural gas. it will disturb nearly 20,000 acres in nevada alone during construction and result in a permanent roW for maintenance through nevada high desert steppe that is largely devoid of development or infrastructure of any sort.

The project, under FERC jurisdiction, necessitated an eis. This eis was done in approximately 11 months, ending with the FEIS official publication on January 15, 2010. This is an extremely short time relative to the scale of the project and relative to eis cycles for Blm or Usfs actions in nevada.

Local conservation leaders for the Toiyabe Chapter of the Sierra Club have participated in the eis process since its inception. in studying this issue, we have met with, or have been in contact with, BLM officials, Nevada Depart- ment of Wildlife staff, senator reid’s staff, other nGos, tribal representa- tives, and personnel from ruby itself.

This rushed EIS was done in such a manner that the public did not have ad- equate documentation to fully comment on the draft eis. The preferred route through nevada is essentially a straight line below the oregon/idaho border with nevada, passing mostly through nearly pristine public land.

Our major concern is that the eis did not study route alternatives which would have much less environmental impact and which should include a large segment of the designated West-WideEnergy Corridor in Nevada. Instead, the preferred route would disturb an alarming amount of sage-grouse habitat at the time that this species is being con- sidered for listing by the Usf&Ws.

Although alternative routes which appeal to us would add expense to the construction of the project, it is widely agreed among conservationists that the environmental impact would be significantly less. at the time of this writing, we are awaiting the FERC decision on whether to let construction proceed.

Our last administrative option would be to appeal the FERC decision. After the FERC decision, the BLM must issue a Record of Decision (ROD), based on the feis. This roD would govern construction of the project through Blm lands, the restoration of these lands, and many other factors surrounding the project.

What you can do. for a single action, this project will potentially have the largest impact on public land in nevada since the creation of the nevada Test site. Because we are dedicated to pro- tecting nevada’s lands and wildlife, we need to do everything we can to make sure this project doesn’t happen.

For more information, contact David von Seggern (vonseg1@sbcglobal.net)
Click here to see a map of Sage Grouse Lek (strutting grounds) conflicts with the Ruby Pipeline, LLC's preferred route across Nevada.


Ruby Pipeline: Piecemeal EIS ignores impacts; Denies public a voice

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The proposed Ruby Gas Pipeline would cross spectacular 12 Mile Creek Canyon on the Nevada-Oregon Border.

It would cut up to a 192 foot swath across northern Nevada from Utah to Oregon leaving a permanent scar (and road) over hundreds of miles of prime sage grouse habitat. 

No utility corridor or road now exists over the vast majority of the route in Nevada where Ruby wants to go. The draft EIS, which studied only Ruby's selected route in detail, should be redone to study less environmentally damaging routes - including the West Wide Energy Corridors recently identified in a west-wide EIS. 

The Sierra Club is not necessarily opposed to building a gas pipeline  but wants several alternatives studied in detail including ones which would follow existing road, rail, power and gas utility corridors. 

Breaking news: just posted our comments on the Final EIS and the "voluntary" conservation agreements. 

(photo: D. Ghiglieri)




Ruby Pipeline: Permanent damage to critical habitat

Pronghorn's flourish in northern Nevada's healthy sagebrush ecosystem.  Pipeline construction tears apart the fragile soils, destroys the vegetation, leavs a permanent road and vegetative clearing in perpetuity.  The impacts from this kind of industrial application belong in existing corridors where there is already disturbance -- not in remote intact habitats.

Proposed Pipeline Threatens Public Lands

El Paso Corp based in Colorado proposes a 680 mile, 42" buried natural gas pipeline from Wyoming to Oregon with the majority of the new route being constructed across northern Nevada.   The pipeline slices across more than 350 miles of northern Nevada.  (Nevada customers apparently would receive no gas from the pipeline.)

[See the full Sierra Club Comments here.]

Alternative routes are available, especially the West-Wide Energy Corridor (http://corridoreis.anl.gov/ ) routes which have been specifically selected after rigorous environmental review to avoid as much as possible sensitive lands and resources. 

Instead, the Ruby Pipeline proposed route crosses critical habitat in many places in Nevada and especially in the northeast and northwest portions.  Further, the pipeline goes cross-country and does not follow existing roads or established utility corridors.  It would create a new corridor in currently wild and open lands throughout Nevada where most access is via jeep trails or, at best, dirt roads.

Ruby Pipeline, LLC, could not have picked an environmentally worse route across Nevada than the proposed route.

The Sierra Club submitted its comments on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC) draft Environmental Impact Statement  August 7, 2009.  The Chapter strongly supported the no action alternative and opposed the proposed route because it would permanently destroy pristine sagebrush ecosystems. Comments on the disappointing final EIS were submitted on February 15, 2010.

The proposed pipeline route would cross critical wildlife and wild lands on the southern boundary of the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge in northwestern Nevada, cut through a portion of the Black Rock High Rock Emigrant Trail National Conservation Area and border the Summit Lake Paiute Reservation in northwestern Nevada. Comments on the inadequate mitigation plan and voluntary conservation agreements not made public until mid-December were filed with FERC on February 3, 2010.  

Proposed route of the Ruby Pipeline would cut through hundreds of miles of pristine country and not follow existing and designated energy corridors.