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Know the West

South Pass reconsidered

  A Wyoming environmental group has been successful in getting the Bureau of Land Management to reconsider the route of a natural gas pipeline over historic South Pass. Following a tour of the area last year, the Wyoming Outdoor Council convinced former BLM chief Jim Baca to reconsider the route. Council founder Tom Bell and other members maintained that routing the Altamont Natural Gas Pipeline through South Pass would damage historic trails, sensitive vegetation and perennial high-quality streams. They urged the agency to route the pipeline through an existing corridor outside Jeffrey City. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission certified the South Pass route despite a public outcry, but before Baca left office, he ordered the Wyoming BLM to take another look at the Jeffrey City route. Wyoming BLM Director Ray Brubaker is expected to rule on the preferred route in early June. If he rules for the Jeffrey City route, it could mean that Altamont must shell out an additional $40 million (by the company's estimates) because the Jeffrey City route is 30-40 miles longer. Altamont Gas Transmission Co. proposes to take Canadian natural gas through the pipeline to markets in Southern California.