Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission                                The blue line represents the pipeline. The upgrade will be done on the section between the red dots (approximately).

Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission The blue line represents the pipeline. The upgrade will be done on the section between the red dots (approximately).

After pause, pipeline expansion gets initial county approval

Some neighbors have concerns about the natural gas project through Bothell, Clearview and Maltby.

CLEARVIEW — A major energy project is back in the permitting process, promising comfort on cold winter days, but also alarming some environmental advocates.

Snohomish County on Wednesday granted an approval to expand nearly 6 miles of natural gas line. The pipeline known as the North Seattle Lateral crosses through North Creek, Clearview and other unincorporated areas. It supplies Puget Sound Energy customers in north King County and much of Snohomish County.

Northwest Pipeline operates the infrastructure. It’s part of The Williams Companies, Inc., which hopes to start work this spring.

“Pending all federal, state and local regulatory approvals, construction-related activities for the North Seattle Lateral Upgrade are scheduled to start in May 2019 and conclude in November 2019,” said Phillip Harris, a spokesman for Tulsa, Oklahoma-based Williams. “The project needs to be completed before next winter to ensure demand is met to heat homes and keep businesses running.”

The pipeline was built in 1956. It transports gas from the Rocky Mountains and British Columbia. Williams says the transmission line is operating beyond its intended capacity during winter weather, like the kind that has been hitting the Pacific Northwest for more than a month.

The work would involve widening the pipe from its current 8-inch diameter to 20 inches. Metering upgrades also would be completed.

A coalition of environmental groups has asked for greater scrutiny of the project. They include 350 Everett and affiliated groups; the Sierra Club’s Sno-Isle Group; and Mothers Out Front.

The upgrade would cross 15 streams, with potential impacts on wildlife, especially threatened salmon species. Another set of concerns involves safety for the pipeline’s suburban and rural neighbors in the event of a leak or explosion.

The environmental groups note that the wider pipeline, if put to full use, could drastically increase greenhouse gas emissions.

In a Feb. 7 letter to county planning director Barb Mock, they questioned whether such a large investment was needed only for peak demand on cold days. They also object to fracking techniques used to extract gas from the ground.

The county’s land-use decision started a 14-day period for commenting on the project or filing an appeal. The approval comes with environmental conditions attached. It replaces an earlier approval that the county issued last fall and later withdrew.

Most of the conditions already were included in a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission decision from last year. The county also specified disposal requirements for excavation spoils in specific areas, including the Fritch Mill in Maltby.

Before construction can start, additional state environmental approvals and other county permits are required.

The upgrade would begin west of the Bothell-Everett Highway. It would continue south of 180th Street through the North Creek area toward Clearview. It would pass Highway 9 and stop just short of Highway 522. The route crosses 154 land parcels.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465; nhaglund@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @NWhaglund.

Talk to us

More in Local News

NO CAPTION NECESSARY: Logo for the Cornfield Report by Jerry Cornfield. 20200112
Private prisons, police reform and a Black pioneer’s plaque

Here’s what’s happening on Day 45 of the 2021 session of the Washington Legislature.

Joe Hempel swims off of the shore of Seawall Park on Friday, Jan. 29, 2021 in Langley, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Scantily clad is the dress code for these cold rush swimmers

Immersed for 30 minutes in frigid water would kill most of us. It energizes these swimmers.

Everett man found dead in creek near Lake Stevens

The man, 28, was reported missing Thursday. A neighbor found his body in Little Pilchuck Creek.

When not at home, Brett Bass keeps his rifle locked in a 600-lb. safe at his home on Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018 in Edmonds, Wa. Bass, an NRA certified firearms instructor and safety officer, is one of three Edmonds residents who sued to block the city's safe storage gun law from being enforced. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Appeals court says Edmonds can’t enforce safe storage gun law

State law “unambiguously” pre-empts the city from enacting its own firearm rules, the panel concludes.

A Washington State Patrol detective photographs the vehicle involved in hit and run double fatality in Bothell Friday on February 19, 2021.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Fatal hit-and-run victims identified after Friday crash

They were Carson M. Cox, 32, and Sarah L. Foxheath, 39, according to the state patrol.

Autopsy shows Lake Stevens woman, 20, drowned Saturday

Anna M. Lopez was swimming when witnesses noticed she was not responsive, according to officials.

Rain drops gather on a ball cap with the name of the crab fishing boat Scandies Rose, a 130-foot crab fishing boat from Dutch Harbor, Alaska, that sank on New Year's Eve, as the hat rests near some flowers and a fishing float at the Seattle Fishermen's Memorial, Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
‘We are rolling over’: Edmonds survivor recounts boat tragedy

The inquiry into the Bering Sea sinking of the Scandies Rose crab boat openened with a mayday call.

Firearms teacher sentenced for Oak Harbor restaurant shooting

The 82-year-old victim had part of her legs amputated because of blood clots related to the injury.

Most Read