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Guest Column: Seeking refining comments on pipeline
Feb 20, 2014 | 4875 views | 0 0 comments | 153 153 recommendations | email to a friend | print
John Pitt
John Pitt

Refining moments: Comments sought on pipeline


Clipper Columnist

As Bountiful kids my friends and I  looked with awe at the lights and the flames of the oil refineries that lit up our hometown sky. In fact, the higher the jets of flame, the better.  

As teens we looked at the refineries with the same ambivalence with which  we looked at everything else.  “They’ve been there since before we were born and they’ll be here until long after we’re gone, right?”  

As adults, we have developed a more pensive view.  The smell, the smog, and the fossil-fueled future they represent seem more intrusive than ever before.  Especially now that Tesoro Corporation proposes a 12-inch pipeline to bring 60,000 gallons of waxy crude oil per day  through  the same neighborhoods in which our lives and our opinions of hometown refineries have evolved.    

My own knee-jerk reaction upon learning that the proposed Duchesne to Davis pipeline is planned to come through the heart of Bountiful was a vow to lie down in the middle of 400 North and stop the project  dead.  Having matured enough to think beyond knee-jerk reactions, however, I soon realized  that I would likely be the   only thing stopped dead by that fool-hearty plan.   I also realized there is a big need on our planet for fossil fuel.  There are billions of dollars at stake in energy production and consumption.  And thousands of my own neighbors depend on those dollars to come back to our communities in the form of jobs, taxes, and yes, fuel.

So, I adopted a more practical approach.    I began searching, reading, and discussing all things related to energy pipelines.  I still had much to learn, so I called a trusted friend who just happens to be an industrial pipe-fitter.  He gave me a valuable first-hand glimpse of the potential positive and negative impacts of this pipeline on south Davis families.  Most importantly, he gave me the opportunity to catch my breath and formulate questions about the project.  I  have 15 questions (so far) about the need, the process, the dangers, the benefits, and the alternatives of the proposed 135 mile scratch across half the State of Utah.  

My intent, as a concerned citizen and as the person this newspaper has asked to coordinate its community-wide engagement in this issue, is to inform myself as completely as possible.  I’ll continue doing that at the U.S. Forest Service Public Hearing on the pipeline to be  held at Bountiful High this evening, Feb 20 from 6 to 8 pm.  

I will be there, not with protest torches, placards, and pre-set ideas, but with paper, pen, and open ears.  I hope this community will do the same.  Our response to those flame-shooting towers has been evolving our entire lives.  I suppose we can take another month or two and discover the facts before we determine our course and take the decisive action necessary. 

The Davis Clipper pledges to provide the coverage, the insight, and the analysis you need to make informed choices about the proposed Uintah Pipeline.  They need your input and your engagement to fulfill their responsibility to this community.  Please send your comments, your questions, and your responsible suggestions to  This is a community issue and we need a community response.

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