Monday, July 8, 2013

Big Morongo Canyon Preserve in the cross hairs again!

Questar, operators of the Southern Trails Pipeline, are planning on adding a 16” oil pipeline to the existing gas one, which will run from Essex to Whitewater out in the California deserts; the only question being will it go east of the crown jewel, Joshua Tree National Park, or west via a route which will take it through the Morongo Basin, and most likely Big Morongo Canyon Preserve.

Here is the Questar map showing proposed routes for the extension. This is a screen capture from the source where I heard about this project, the Mojave Desert Blog. Link to the article below the picture.
ScreenHunter_03 Jul. 08 12.40

Here is the link to the official Questar handout discussing the pipeline proposal.

I have taken the liberty of copying a select portion of the handout which shows who to contact if you would like to discuss the potential routes for this pipeline.
Questar has hired a consulting firm, Paragon, to work on the route and shepherd the pipeline into the bureaucratic approval process, I already have a call into Mr. Lemont’s answering machine. Feel free to call him yourself as well and express your opinion. I will explain this cross out right above my signature below.
ScreenHunter_04 Jul. 08 12.43

So far, the only pipeline that I have come across going through the Morongo Basin is Socalgas’ line that runs down through the middle of the Big Morongo Canyon Preserve. Here are a couple of screen captures from their website showing the location.
ScreenHunter_02 Jul. 08 12.18

ScreenHunter_01 Jul. 08 12.16

The big green area is the Big Morongo Canyon Preserve. Below is a screen capture from one of my videos from January of this year showing where the
proposed pipeline would come through, note the pipeline route marker in the photo.
ScreenHunter_06 Jul. 08 13.02

Another link is to the Questar Pipeline system site:

As you may know, I have spent a lot of time hiking, photographing and making videos in Big Morongo Canyon Preserve. I don’t want to see it ripped asunder to add another pipeline, even if it does run right next to an existing one. You have to see this area to appreciate what I am unable to put into words. Use my site search feature and put in Big Morongo Canyon Preserve or Big Morongo and look at all the photographs and posts. This is home to a large bighorn sheep population as well and this is where I became known as the “bighorn whisperer.”

This is just the beginning and I am still doing research. Who knows maybe there is another pipeline running up through the area along Hwy 62, I intend to drive up again asap and find out, that’s for sure.

So stay tuned for further info. I am probably heading up in 2 days and should know more after that recon trip. So come back here in a few days.

Late addition. Mr. Lemont called me back and gave me the number to the Questar main contact, Steve Chapman, and I will call him and give you more info later. Btw,he also told me that the local paper had talked to this person for a story which I will look for and give you the link to later. They are already busy at work preparing the people for this pipeline that is coming.
Crude oil pipeline could take route through Morongo Basin

Okay, I spoke with Courtney Vaughn who wrote the news article linked above and it definitely will go through the Big Morongo Canyon Preserve if they choose the western route around Joshua Tree National Park and right now Questar is studying the routes and also the decision to build it. She also is very aware of the past history with the Stop Greenpath North campaign to save the preserve a few years ago. Once further news develops they will most likely write a followup article she said.

I will make this prediction- Questar better be ready to rumble over this if they make the decision to go through the Morongo Basin. I definitely will be heading up to BMCP on Wednesday and will take plenty of pictures and video.

I went off half cocked last year when I discovered the rebladed and graded dirt road that follows the pipeline. I actually was very suspicious that perhaps it was to be for the purpose of allowing a second bite at the Greenpath apple, it never occurred to me that they might want to build another pipeline alongside the existing one!