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Pima County wants Kinder Morgan to pay for potential long-term damage to the environment caused by the 60-mile natural gas pipeline it wants to build from Tucson to Sasabe.
County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry will ask the Board of Supervisors at today’s meeting to approve a resolution to ask Kinder Morgan for about million for the Sierrita pipeline.
The costs would include million for a mitigation fund, as well as money for law enforcement, destroyed habitat area and annual costs.
County officials, along with ranchers in the Altar Valley, oppose the proposed pipeline, saying it’ll further damage pristine land in the area while potentially creating a new smuggling corridor.
Officials and ranchers say they don’t believe Kinder Morgan’s plan to replant native vegetation along the pipeline will be adequate to mitigate the damage.
“These are real impacts,” Huckelberry said. “It doesn’t grow back like they say it grows back.”
The pipeline could also hurt county taxpayers, who could pay million in the first year for increased Pima County Sheriff’s Department patrols, access-road maintenance, open-space management and other costs, according to county officials.
Revised projections show the county could only gain ,334 in tax revenue from the project.
The county is guaranteed to receive .3 million for flood-plain use permits.
The county has already filed a letter of opposition to the project with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
County officials plan to intervene if the commission gives a final order to approve the project, which could happen in June.
The commission released its final environmental impact statement more than a week ago, which found the construction and operation of the pipeline would result in limited adverse environmental impact.
The pipeline would threaten the habitat of the endangered Pima pineapple cactus, but four other federally listed or endangered species are not likely to be adversely affected, according to the report.
If Kinder Morgan declines to pay or partially pays the million, the county will review other options, including possible legal action, Huckelberry said.
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