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Will Uinta pipeline hurt Utah’s drinking water?
Uinta Basin » New project would cut 250 truck trips a day but fuels fears of contamination.

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The towns are also concerned with the "unproven" technology the pipeline would need to keep the waxy crude moving through the line and Tesoro’s lack of relevant experience. Although the company operates numerous lines, it has never built one.

Tesoro says the project is needed to address the boom in Uinta Basin oil production, expected to triple to 60 million barrels by 2042. This oil’s high paraffin content poses transportation challenges because it is liable to congeal, so it must be kept warmer than 160 degrees.

At a glance

Uinta Express Pipeline

Tesoro is hosting an open house on its pipeline proposal on April 24 at Duchesne High School from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at 155 W. Main, Duchesne. It is also maintaining a 24-hour “community care line,” at 801-560-3044, to answer questions.

The public has until April 22 to submit comments to the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, which is preparing an environmental impact statement. Mail comments to 857 W. South Jordan Parkway, South Jordan, UT 84095-8594.

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Most of the current production is trucked for processing to the Salt Lake City area, where three of the five refineries are planning expansions. Some contend the Uinta oil boom is exacerbating the Wasatch Front’s air-quality challenges, even though most of these refineries’ output is shipped south to Las Vegas and northwest to Washington state.

Niermeyer suggested a better option could be refining this oil in the basin and piping it to out-of-state markets through lines that avoid the Wasatch Front.


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