Construction of the Ruby Pipeline is one step closer to beginning.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a final environmental impact statement Friday that said the pipeline would have some harmful environmental impacts, most of which could be brought to what FERC called less-than-significant levels by proposed mitigation efforts.
Richard Wheatley, spokesman for Ruby Pipeline LLC, a subsidiary of El Paso Corp., said if FERC approves the project after the 30-day comment period, construction would begin in May or June.
"We cannot count our chickens until FERC approves the project and the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) gives us right of way," he said.
A decision from FERC is expected in February, Wheatley said. The company is still on schedule to be operational in March 2011.
The 675-mile, 42-inchdiameter pipeline will be able to deliver 1.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day and will cost close to $3 billion.
The project will need about $1.5 billion in debt financing, and Wheatley said the company is securing all of the financing now.
He said the project will benefit the areas through which the pipeline is running. An estimated 3,000 people will work on the pipeline at its peak, and those workers will need services. Customers along the route also will be able to hook up to the pipeline, which Wheatley said would be attractive for potential businesses moving into the area.
"We see this as a major infrastructure enhancement to states like Utah and Nevada to help those states increase new business and industry," he said.
In addition, Wheatley said, Rich, Cache and Box Elder counties will get about $4.7 million of property tax on the value of the pipeline, with about $3.5 million going to Cache County.
Copyright (c) 2010, Standard-Examiner, Ogden, Utah. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.