Uinta Express Pipeline


Uinta Express Pipeline Company, a subsidiary of Tesoro Refining and Marketing Company, is proposing to build the Uinta Express Pipeline through portions of Summit County. The project will consist of a 135 mile, 12" buried common carrier, carbon steel pipeline and ancillary facilities, (i.e. pump stations, storage tanks, etc).

  • Proposed northern route is 135 miles and would parallel portions of the existing Chevron crude pipeline for the first 40 miles to Francis. It would then bear north through the Kamas Valley toward Coalville, meeting up with the Kern River natural gas pipeline at the top of the Wasatch Range. It would then track west to Bountiful, eventually bearing south to Salt Lake.
  • Alternative route: East Canyon route would be 135 miles and would follow the northern route for the first 90 miles, then bearing west to Park City. From there, it would parallel East Canyon Creek, joining with the Kern River pipeline at the top of the Wasatch Range, finishing the same as the northern route in Salt Lake.
  • Alternative route: the southern route would be 120 miles, following the northern route for the first 90 miles and paralleling the existing Chevron crude pipeline into Salt Lake, connecting to various refineries.

For the inter-active GIS map of proposed route and alternate routes:


The Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest has facilitated the environmental impact statement (EIS) for the 15-mile section of the proposed 135-mile route that will go through Forest Service lands. Forest Service specialists will work with Tesoro contractors and specialists to start investigating and analyzing issues on the ground as well as possible alternatives. After that, field surveys such as soil sampling, cultural research and wildlife surveys will be conducted in conjunction with other federal, state and local agencies.

Currently, Tesoro and the Forest Service are embarking on an environmental analysis of the preferred route. That process is expected to take until the end of 2015. The public comment period for the Uinta Express Pipeline has closed. However, stakeholders will have an additional opportunity to comment after the Forest Service issues its initial recommendation.
Follow this link for more info on NEPA process.


Summit County has often been asked about eminent domain (the legal ability to condemn private property for the proposed pipeline) and property rights related to the proposed pipeline. Currently, Utah Code 78B-6-501(6)(d) allows gas, oil or coal pipelines as uses for which eminent domain may be exercised.

Follow this link for more info on eminent domain.


There are two types of pipelines: (a) interstate pipelines - which are pipelines that cross two or more state boundaries; and (b) intrastate pipelines - which are pipelines that are solely contained within a single state. Summit County is prohibited by federal law from regulating interstate pipelines. The County may regulate intrastate pipelines in limited ways, primarily through land use and excavation regulations. The Uintah Express Pipeline is an intrastate pipeline where some local regulation does apply.

Three different permits are needed to build intrastate pipeline through Summit County. The first permit is from the Forest Service. That is the NEPA process. NEPA requires that Tesoro provide alternative routes for the pipeline and conduct a scoping process which leads to an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Based upon that EIS, the Forest Service will identify an acceptable pipeline route through federal lands. It is important to note that the EIS will take into consideration more than just the federal land. It will also take into consideration the environmental impacts on state, local and private lands that are traversed by the pipeline. As part of the Forest Service's Record of Decision (ROD), it will consider state and county regulations which may bear on the pipeline. The Forest Service may decide that none of the proposed pipeline routes is environmentally acceptable and deny the permit through federal lands.

The second permit is one administered by Summit County where the pipeline traverses upon unincorporated lands. This permit is called a Conditional Use Permit (CUP). The Council enacted a temporary zoning ordinance to require this permit. Under the Eastern Summit County CUP, Tesoro is prohibited from building its pipeline within 500 feet of any structures, 2,500 feet from any water resource, and 2,500 feet from any essential public facilities or high consequence land uses (which are high density locations where evacuation would be problematic - schools, hospitals, etc.). Further, the CUP requires that any stream or river crossing be accomplished by boring 10 feet under the water channel, providing a barrier between the pipeline and the water, and placing isolation valves on either side of the water resource in order to allow immediate shut off in the event of a breach in the pipeline. Since this ordinance is only valid for 180 days, a more permanent ordinance will be considered by the Eastern Summit County Planning Commission in the near future. There will be a public hearing process where citizens can voice their concerns as part of the adoption of any permanent ordinance.

The third permit is a pipeline permit issued by the County Engineer. The Council enacted an Engineering ordinance to allow for this permit. This permit requires that Tesoro satisfy various engineering and excavation standards for the placement of the pipeline. It also requires 95% backfill compaction and a prohibition against changing the natural drainage. The pipeline must also be adequately "marked" and 48-hour notice must be given to adjacent property owners prior to construction or repairs to the pipeline. It also requires that Tesoro have an Emergency Preparedness Plan and mandates consultation with the County's Emergency Manager. Tesoro will be required to enter into a "Haul Road Agreement" with the County to ensure that public roads are not impaired or damaged by construction truck traffic. A bond will also be required.

Where the pipeline goes through a municipality, that municipality may have similar regulations and permits which Tesoro would be required to obtain. While the County may influence the route of the pipeline, the County cannot prohibit outright the pipeline through unincorporated Summit County.


Summit County has met with Tesoro Officials multiple times since February 2014. Furthermore, during the Public Comment period, the County submitted formal comments as part of the NEPA process. Among them, the County asked tough questions related to water sources, economic impacts, and technical safety issues.

Uinta Express Pipeline - County submitted comments

Summit County has also taken proactive steps, passing a series of engineering and temporary land use ordinances regulating various aspects of Hazardous Liquid Pipelines on June 25, 2014. The Ordinances will allow the county to designate set-backs and land use standards.

From an engineering perspective: these ordinances seek to ensure sound design and engineering practices are used; will allow us to collect a bond to ensure roads are put back correctly; allows county to identify/approve the seed mix/mulch to prevent weed encroachment on top of the pipeline right-of-way; and allows us to require as-built engineering drawings.

From a land-use perspective: these ordinances allow us to establish setbacks from structures, water sources, essential public facilities (e.g., hospitals and schools), and; stipulates guidelines for pipeline crossing under or around water sources.

These Ordinances cannot mandate new safety regulations which conflict with those already mandated by the federal government. The U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration has ultimate authority over public safety regulations.

The following website contains public resource information: www.phmsa.dot.gov/portal/site/PHMSA


Articles in local media regarding the proposed pipeline: