(KCPW News) The owners of a ranch in Nine Mile Canyon are trying to stop a second gas pipeline from running through a three-quarters-of-a-mile easement on their property. State law says Bill Barrett Corporation has the right to install the pipeline, but landowners say it will disrupt ranching operations, damage the irrigation system and impact archeological resources. Part-owner Jerry Vaculin says the state has wrongly allowed corporations to act in the role of government.
“There needs to be some agency set up to represent the landowner.” He says. “If the state is going to allow private companies this much unbridled access to private property, than the state needs to have someone there to ensure that power is not being taken advantage of.”
Ted Wilson, Senior Environmental Advisor to Governor Gary Herbert, says he’s spoken to both the ranchers and Bill Barrett about the pipeline, and the corporation has agreed to work with the ranchers. But he adds the state has no right to stop it from being built.
“Mineral rights have a very high priority and moving mineral rights because of the importance to the state’s economy.” He said. “About the only oversight the governor can provide is to say to people, look we’re willing to get you together to try to work it out. And I suppose Bill Barrett will do what it wants, but I hope not.”
In an e-mail, Bill Barrett Corporation said the company feels it’s “less impactful to the environment to lay a pipeline in the same corridor as an existing one, than disturb several miles of pristine backcountry in the area.”
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