News Column

Feds Seeks Public Input on Proposed NM Gas Line

Oct. 26, 2012

Dianne Stallings, Ruidoso News, N.M.

Officials with the Bureau of Land Management are seeking public input for an environmental assessment on a natural gas pipeline that would cross 12 New Mexico counties, including Lincoln.

They initiated a public scoping process to solicit public comments and identify issues for the EA being prepared for the Western Expansion Pipeline III Project proposal. The proposed project would consist of about 246 miles of 16-inch diameter pipeline with seven loop pipeline segments of 20-inch diameter. The line would cross land in the counties of San Juan, Rio Arriba, Sandoval, McKinley, Bernalillo, Santa Fe, Torrance, Guadalupe, Lincoln, De Baca, Chaves, and Lea. The proposed pipeline loop segments would transport increased natural gas liquids production to Hobbs and ultimately to markets in Mont Belvieu, Texas.

The project also crosses federal land managed by the BLM Farmington, Rio Puerco, and Roswell Field Offices, as well as lands administered by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, state and private land.

This proposed plan of development, prepared by Enterprise Mid-America Pipeline, and submitted to the BLM, proposes to construct, operate, and maintain about 246 miles of natural gas liquids pipeline, which would tie into and be installed adjacent to its existing system that runs through New Mexico.

Of the 246 miles proposed, about 68 miles would be installed on BLM-administered lands, 26 miles on BIA-administered lands, 27 miles on state lands, and 125 miles on private land. Construction is proposed for 2013, to be completed within nine months.

Enterprise MAPL requested a 50-foot permanent right of way and an additional 75 feet of temporary construction width for the length of the seven loop pipeline segments. Additional temporary work areas also were requested in various locations such as road crossings, stream crossings and steep slopes.

BLM officials will prepare an EA to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act requirements for the proposal. The EA will consider a reasonable range of alternatives, including a No Action alternative, and will disclose the direct, indirect, and cumulative environmental impacts of the proposal. As a starting point in the assessment, the BLM is soliciting input on issues that will be considered in the preparation of the EA.

The public is encouraged to provide any comments, concerns, or issues they may have with regard to the proposal. To best facilitate the development of the EA, scoping comments must be received by Nov. 20. Written comments and questions should be directed to Lorraine Salas, BLM national project manager stationed at the Las Cruces District Office, 1800 Marquess St., Las Cruces, N.M. 88005. Electronic comments may be submitted to or faxed to 575-525-4412.

Enterprise MAPL's proposed plan of development, which provides additional information, is available for review at Digital and hard copies of the maps referred to in the plan of development are available at BLM field offices in Farmington, Rio Puerco Field Office and in Roswell, 2909 W. Second Street.

With 245 million acres under its control, the BLM manages more land than any other federal agency, primarily located in 12 Western states.

Source: (c)2012 the Ruidoso News (Ruidoso, N.M.) Distributed by MCT Information Services

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