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Natural Gas Pipeline Proposed Near Arizona Wildlife Refuge

A proposed cross-border natural gas pipeline in southern Arizona is leading to concerns about the protection of a wildlife refuge in the area.   Texas-based Kinder Morgan Company wants to construct the 200 million dollar pipeline that would transport El Paso natural gas to customers in Mexico.  The company has applied to build the pipeline on the western boundary of the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, a habitat for threatened wildlife and desert plants south of Tucson. 

Sally Gall is manager of the refuge. She said the project is too close to riparian wetlands in the Alter Valley near Arivaca.

“We would like to see this pipeline move out of the valley completely and  a big concern out there is erosion and  the ability to restore the land that would be disturbed from the pipeline construction.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has decided the pipeline cannot cut directly through the park.  That means the project may have to locate on undisturbed state trust land.  But, some conservationists and Pima County want the pipeline to run adjacent to an existing highway through the refuge boundaries where they say it would do less environmental damage.