A federal regulatory commission approved a controversial route for a proposed natural gas pipeline that will negatively impact some planned developments despite pleas at the local and state level.
The Pinal County Board of Supervisors has been adamant that the Transwestern Pipeline Co. follow existing utility easements, sharing trenches with El Paso Natural Gas Co. and the Salt River Project. But plans submitted by Transwestern to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission show the route strays from those existing easements.
Transwestern is planning a 44-mile stretch of its Phoenix Expansion Project in Pinal County as part of a 260-mile pipeline running from Coconino County. The pipeline would supply natural gas throughout the state and the East Valley.
The pipeline crosses or is adjacent to 39 different developments that are either under construction, approved or proposed, the report states. Five of those developments are in Pinal County, including a Casa Grande project to install sewer infrastructure and trails along an area wash.
The commission determined last week that the proposed route, with a few conditions, was the best route despite objections from West Valley municipalities and developers as well as the Pinal County Board of Supervisors, Casa Grande, numerous area developers and the Arizona Corporation Commission.
“They agreed with staff that the proposed route was environmentally superior to co-location,” said Tamara Young-Allen, a FERC spokeswoman. “The commission considered all of those issues.”
The report issued by the commission states that concerns of the new right-of-way would impinge on planned developments are resolved because they have directed Transwestern to work with developers and utility companies, where possible, to avoid locating a new right-of-way on platted lots.
Transwestern officials said they plan to work with developers and stay within existing utility easements when they can.
Attorney Court Rich, who represents developers affected by the Pinal County route, said they were pleased they did get some compromise in the Casa Grande area.
“There were people on the west side who didn’t get anything,” Rich said.
Rich said Transwestern originally asked to put 50-foot easements onto the developments but in the final decision approved 27.5-foot easements.