First, several individuals and the Sierra Club have been involved for over one year in asking questions about the feasibility of the pipeline, raising concerns about public safety during construction and operation, and providing comments to the Bureau of Land Management about those concerns. Our involvement is not new or stimulated by others.
Second, there are serious public safety issues with construction of the pipeline that I and others have documented with photos and video. Some of these issues have been brought to the attention of the BLM, which is responsible for monitoring the work. Periodic visits I’ve made to the worksite over the past month have found numerous instances where construction is not in compliance with the stipulations issued by the BLM; some of those incidents are chronic or repetitive, such as no dust suppression.
Third, the pipeline is in an area where half a million people visit and recreate every year. An uncoated pipeline placed primarily on the ground (not buried) is subject to corrosion and scratching as it moves across rocks. The pipeline will sit on the ground within a few feet of Dubinky Well Road. OHV and motorbikes could easily go off-road and hit the pipe. A stray bullet from a hunter could damage the pipe.
Do we really want to take the chance that our safety depends on promises that nothing will happen? Regardless of the quality of pipeline construction or psi of gas in the pipe, an above-ground pipeline near a heavily used campground (Horsethief) will always be a safety issue. In an area with such heavy recreational use, an exposed pipeline will always be a danger to visitors. The bigger picture, of course, is that Fidelity (with BLM approval) has permanently destroyed the Big Flat/Deadhorse Point viewshed, while adding to the mix the danger of an exploding pipeline.
It is hard to imagine a worse location for both an oil and gas field and an above-ground pipeline.