Sunday, July 21, 2013

Time to take it up a notch, if we are to save Big Morongo Canyon Preserve from Questar’s oil pipeline scheme.

Before the commentary, let me update you on the conversation I had with the Southern California Gas representative. I can’t spell her name so I will leave her name out of this.

Socalgas has 2 pipelines that go through the Big Morongo Canyon Preserve, a 6” and 16”, both buried. As we know, the Questar Southern Trails gas pipeline also runs through and is also buried. Socalgas has the easement and SCG is the one that rebladed the dirt road a few months ago, that was verified by the lady that I talked to. She did not know which way the Questar route would take nor did she know which of their pipelines went where at that junction that I wrote about up near the marsh.

So I have pretty much reached the limit for what I can find out from them as an independent blogger.

Here is the choice that I face. I say “I” because to be quite honest about it, I am not seeing any results for this series of posts that I have done. That’s fine with me, I’ll keep writing but it ain’t so fine for the future of the BMCP. I would also like to mention that an email sent to one of the leading desert groups that fought to save the BMCP from the transmission lines through their website went unanswered.

I am not surprised by that last, perhaps it was lost in the mail.

I learned one thing from my involvement with the BrightSource Ivanpah SEGS imbroglio. The proponents of that project were in the driver’s seat from the very beginning; the opponents were playing catch up the whole time, always following the other side’s lead. They had the connections, the money, the bureaucrats, the remote location, the works. They seemingly had people on the inside, in the government and within the big environmental organizations, laying the groundwork and helping write the rules, years before the first earth was dug and the first tortoise was disturbed.

It is all so obvious now in hindsight. But this knowledge gained from experience out there and from observing the struggles with the Keystone Pipeline, will help those of us who wish to stop this latest pipeline from destroying the preserve that we love.

We need to start addressing this issue now, helping shape the future debate and the Questar course of future action. This pipeline needs to be diverted around sensitive ecological and environmental locations. It must be relocated, no matter what. We have to start now.

Those of us who think that this treasure must be saved have to begin a smart campaign now to get Questar to rethink the pipeline route now, before the plan starts becoming a reality.

We are early in this process. Questar told me that no decision has been made to either build the oil pipeline section or which route it would take. That is plain old B.S. Questar didn’t get to their prominent position in the pipeline business by not building pipelines, they got it by building them. Period.

This pipeline section will get built; the only question in my mind is will it destroy sensitive treasures or be built around them.

I believe the answer to that central question will depend upon us.

I have been told that quests like these are quixotic ones, that may very well be true. But I do not want to go to my grave knowing that I didn’t at least try to help the desert that I care about, this preserve that I care about.

The 3 gas pipelines are already there, that fact will not change. Questar made the decision around 2001 to take the existing oil pipeline and convert it to natural gas transmission, that should not give them the blanket right to add on a 16” oil pipeline lying adjacent to the existing one, one that would require up to a 50’ wide permanent clearing along the route, as well as up to 100’ wide clear cuts just to build it.

We don’t want the area below to look like the photo below it.
080410bigmorongohike 022
In the photo above, the oil pipeline would likely run along the hillside behind the marsh, with a resulting 50’ clearcut in place in perpetuity, or until the shutdown of the pipeline in the future.


The photo directly above shows the clear cut area that the Keystone Pipeline crew made for access to the tree where the protestor’s were, in their attempt to stop the pipeline from going through a Texas nature preserve in October, 2012. This area is around150 feet wide, 50’ more than would be required at BMCP. Btw, the folks were arrested and the pipeline did go through the preserve.

Let me be clear. I am not looking to lead this struggle. I have some ideas yes but am not the type to lead this. My contributions will be money if I have it, site visits, photography and video of the area, internet research, this blog, my car for volunteers to ride up in, etc. I can offer some tactics and strategies gained from 59 years on this planet.

This fight needs to have youth involvement. After all, the young will inherit this world that my generation has done its’ very best to destroy in search of the almighty dollar. It’s not bad enough that we are sending them across the planet to fight battles for the corporations, now we must ruin every sacred place here for them as well.

Basta! Enough already!

This fight needs to start now. One way to start is to spread the word and to ask for help.

Here are a few things that can be done to get the word out:

BMCP is a world class birding destination. If you have contacts in the birdwatching community, tell them about the proposed pipeline.

If you are on mailing lists for environmental issues, pass this on to them.

Spread the word via social media as well. Get the word out. Get it out early so we can convince them to reroute this pipeline or stop it cold.

If this gets to the point where we must mount a blockade or camp out in a perch in a big cottonwood tree, it’s all over but the crying.

I need help here at this site. If anyone would like to try a guest post on the subject, I will put it up. Same with comments.

We need to learn the lessons that were taught to us at Ivanpah and at Greenpath North and stop this oil pipeline train before it leaves the station.

Just to show you that it can be done, here is a story out of Kansas regarding a nature preserve and the Keystone Pipeline. The difference is our job will be tougher due to the existing pipelines and the fact that an existing oil pipeline that ran through the preserve was converted to gas a decade or so ago.

Pipeline Rerouted Around Nature Center

Keystone Pipeline from Alberta Tar sands could Decimate 220 acre Kansas Nature Preserve

It is not too late if we start battling now.


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