NEVADA - The environmental group Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Federal District Court in San Francisco seeking to halt the construction of the $3 billion dollar Ruby Pipeline.
“The Ruby Pipeline will have disastrous environmental and social consequences across a wide swath of the West,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species program director of the Arizona based Center. “It’s not too late to stop this terrible project from moving forward.”
The Ruby Pipeline will begin in western Wyoming and cross northern Utah and Nevada before ending at Malin, Oregon. The pipeline, which is being built by El Paso Corporation, will be a 678 mile interstate natural gas pipeline and would cross 209 streams that serve as habitat for these fish. The work could also include blasting through 143 streams to lay the pipeline and depleting flows with its substantial use of water.
The Center argues that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s review of the project’s affect on endangered fish was flawed. According to the agency’s biological opinion and other documents, the pipeline will have serious impacts on several endangered fish species.
“This pipeline will cause serious harm to endangered fish like the Lahontan cutthroat trout,” said Greenwald. “On top of that, the El Paso Corporation has cut corners and failed to adopt adequate mitigation for fish.”
The center states that the biological opinion for the project concluded that a rupture in the Ruby Pipeline “would not be reasonably likely to occur,” and therefore “the Service will not address pipeline ruptures.”
“If there’s one lesson we should have learned from the Gulf disaster, it’s that things can and do go wrong, particularly when regulatory agencies don’t do their jobs,” said Greenwald. “If the pipeline ruptures at a stream crossing, it could have devastating consequences for these endangered fish and other stream life.”