Oil Pipeline Proposed for Joshua Tree Area

Questar, a natural gas-focused company with pipelines throughout western states, is evaluating options for a crude oil pipeline through the California desert to refineries in Long Beach, California.  The company would build up to 120 miles of new 16-inch pipeline between Essex and Whitewater, California to connect portions of the existing Questar Southern Trails pipeline, which currently carries natural gas from New Mexico to Essex for California utilities.   The new 120 mile portion would  be routed east of Joshua Tree National Park through Desert Center, or west of the National Park through the Morongo Basin.

The BLM has not yet begun environmental review of the Questar project, so stay tuned.

This map from Questar shows the existing pipeline in solid blue - much of it currently carrying natural gas from New Mexico to Essex.  The dotted lines show two potential routes for new pipeline to connect the existing pipelines, which would then carry crude oil.

The Questar pipeline is a separate project from the CalNev pipeline, which will be developed by another company and carry oil from Colton, California to Las Vegas, Nevada.  I wrote about the CalNev pipeline in a previous post. The BLM re-initiated review and is accepting public comments until July 16 for the CalNev pipeline.  This pipeline mostly follows along Interstate 15, but will damage desert and threaten water supplies, not to mention feed Las Vegas' demand for fossil fuels.

Of note, the BLM analysis for the CalNev project does not evaluate the greenhouse gas emissions of the product carried by the pipeline, only the emissions caused by the construction activity.  Regarding the notorious Keystone XL pipeline, President Obama said he would only approve the pipeline if it did not result in a net increase of greenhouse gas emissions.  It is not clear if the same standard will apply to the CalNev or Questar pipelines.


  1. It appears that Big Morongo Canyon Preserve is within the cross hairs again, as there is the existing gas pipeline running straight down the middle of the canyon.

    I am pretty sure this is the So Cal gas pipeline that they are talking about following. Now I see why they redid that dirt road, improving it last year with lay down areas now, big enough to park heavy equipment and stack pipe in.

    So far it is just my guess until I can verify that is the pipeline in question. If it is, Big Change and Damage may be heading Big Morongo Canyon's way.


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