For Immediate Release
Noah Greenwald, (503) 484-7495
Injunction Sought to Stop Construction of Ruby Pipeline
PORTLAND, OR - The Center
for Biological Diversity filed a motion for an injunction today to stop
construction of the 677-mile “Ruby” natural-gas pipeline, which
would cut across some of the most pristine and remote lands in Wyoming, Utah,
Nevada and Oregon. The pipeline would be built by Ruby Pipeline, L.L.C., a
subsidiary of the El Paso Corporation, and will trench through more than 1,000
rivers and streams, acutely affecting endangered fish species and fish habitat.
It will use more than 400 million gallons of water over the next several years
from an arid region. Construction of the pipeline began on July 30 and is proceeding
“Construction of the Ruby Pipeline
should be stopped until questions about its impact on endangered fish can be
answered,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species program director at
the Center. “The rush to build this pipeline is precluding options with
lower impacts on endangered fish and other resources.”
The injunction motion is the latest salvo
in a lawsuit filed by the Center in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on July
30, challenging the Bureau of Land Management’s decision to issue rights
of way on federal lands for the project, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service’s review of the project’s impacts on endangered species.
According to the Service’s biological opinion and other documents, the
pipeline will have serious impacts on several endangered fish species,
including the Lahontan cutthroat trout and Warner Creek
sucker. Yet the Service relied on Ruby’s voluntary mitigation measures,
which are not enforceable, in order to find the pipeline’s impacts to be
“The pipeline will have serious
impacts on the Lahontan cutthroat trout and Warner Creek
sucker, as well as a host of other imperiled fish,” said Greenwald.
“The El Paso Corporation has not done enough to ensure the Ruby Pipeline
won’t jeopardize these highly endangered fish, which have been the
subjects of many years of recovery efforts.”
The pipeline will cross 209 streams that
serve as habitat for endangered fish. These crossings involve trenching through
the stream channel – including, in many cases, blasting. El
Paso will use explosives, for example, to blast through Twelvemile
and Twentymile Creeks in Oregon
— designated critical habitat for the Warner sucker, a fish that is found
in only four streams on Earth. The pipeline may also use blasting to trench
through 75 streams that serve as habitat for the Lahontan cutthroat trout,
while the fish are likely to be present.
“The Ruby Pipeline will cause
severe damage to rivers and streams, sensitive habitats for a host of fish and
wildlife species, and some of the most pristine lands in western North America,” said Greenwald. “Instead of
creating an entirely new path of destruction, an existing pipeline route should
have been utilized for this project. But because it wasn’t, mitigation
measures and less damaging trenching methods must be required of El Paso.”
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At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature - to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law, and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters, and climate that species need to survive.