County wants $16 mil for pipeline costs

Pima County says the new natural gas pipeline which will cross Altar Valley, will cost taxpayers up to $16 million for desert mitigation, added sheriff's costs, destruction of sensitive riparian habitat and issues with the US Border Patrol.

Kinder Morgan, which is building the $200 million, 61 mile long pipeline disputes those costs.

The county was hoping to talk to Kinder Morgan representatives at its regular meeting yesterday, April 8, but Kinder Morgan didn't show up.

"I'm really frustrated by that," says District V Supervisor Richard Elias.

Elias says Kinder Morgan "asked very nicely to come sit down and talk together" but then a half hour before the meeting sent a 13 page letter instead.

The letter takes issue with the county's assertion of the cost of environmental consequences as well as added law enforcement costs.

Those costs were determined by County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry and outlined in an April 3 memo.

It called for the board to pass a resolution instructing the county administrator to "recover full costs."

The county has asked Kinder Morgan to come back to its May 5th meeting to discuss the issue.

Kinder Morgan responded to our email request with a short response saying "the outreach process is continuing with the county and other stakeholders."

Whether that means it will attend May 5th is not clear.

But Elias says the county will pass the resolution even if the energy company doesn't show. up.