Topic 8: Federal lands are owned by all Americans and the EIS should look beyond economics to protect public lands for future generations.

What the Draft EIS says or doesn’t say:

  • On a list of 19 resources evaluated in the DEIS, both LPP route alternatives have cumulative environmental effects; while a conservation alternative would have little or no effect.
  • The building of the LPP would require extensive excavation of soils and would be more than was used in cement to build Hoover Dam.
  • BOR found that areas of Mojave desert tortoise habitat would be affected by building the LPP.

Why this is a problem:

  • The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) was intended to move agencies such as BOR to prefer alternatives that minimize damage to the natural and human environment; however, the BOR’s preferred alternative is the most damaging alternative.
  • LPP construction adds to the industrialization of US 89, which is a scenic corridor in the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument (GSENM). The GSENM boundary was illegally reduced by the Trump administration to allow fewer restrictions to building the LPP.
  • LPP would include six hydroelectric plants and five pump stations with power lines, high steel power poles connecting them to existing power grids, parking lots, substations, lights, new access paved roads, regulating tanks and reservoirs, manholes, air release values, vacuum relief values, blow off valves, fencing, buried forebay tanks, buried surge tanks, pipeline inspection gauge (pig) retrievals used to clean the pipe, and surface overflow detention basins, all of which require weekly maintenance.
  • LPP infrastructure would scar the scenic beauty of desert landscapes, disturb wildlife, and expose archeological and cultural sites along its route.
  • LPP facilities would be visible from US Highway 89 and other highways along vast, scenic areas, compromising viewscapes for untold thousands of visitors, and affecting tourism.
  • Habitat for the threatened Mojave desert tortoise is already under stress due to development pressures; LPP construction activities would add additional stress.
  • These lands draw American tourists from around the country and provide valued outdoor recreation opportunities and would be permanently scarred by LPP’s infrastructure.
  • The scenic beauty of our public lands in Washington and Kane counties is world-renowned and drives our economies, providing thousands of jobs in hospitality and tourism. Visitors driving to different National Parks and the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument would be adversely affected by the visible scars from building the LPP and the infrastructure to support it.
  • Scars from the LPP would harm scenic beauty important to Utah’s economy which is transitioning to tourism and outdoor recreation, an industry that provides 110,000 direct jobs and $3.9 billion in wages in the state of Utah in 2017.

Commenting guidance

  • The BOR’s plan to mitigate impacts to Mojave desert tortoises is insufficient to meet the need of protecting these threatened animals.
  • The DEIS (page 99) only considers impacts within one mile of the pipeline, which is insufficient as it omits completely the impact of the necessary infrastructure that has to be built to support the pipeline.
  • The BOR failed to consider the value of pristine land lost and scarred for future generations.
  • The BOR must assess economic effects of lost scenic values on tourism and major events in the region.
  • The BOR omits the effects of greenhouse gas emissions resulting from LPP cement.

Personal Note/Experience:

  • The LPP will have a major impact on views, recreational value, land, and wildlife along its 140-mile length (Highway 389/89 corridor). Have you recreated in this area or simply driven through it?  Express your experience of this beautiful area to the BOR.
  • Are you troubled that the BOR is proposing approval of a damaging pipeline project when water conservation is a viable, less expensive option with little or no environmental damage? Express this concern in your comments.