Citing a need to reduce risk of washouts, ruptures and fuel spills, the Forest Service wants Yellowstone Pipe Line Co. to replace eight miles of its fuel pipeline between Thompson Falls and Thompson Pass. In a final environmental impact statement released Nov. 10, the Lolo National Forest listed the pipeline repairs and replacements it wants as conditions for renewing Yellowstone's permit to cross federal land between Thompson Falls and Kingston, Idaho. In a letter to the Forest Service earlier this year, the company expressed disappointment about its abandonment of the application for a route around the Flathead Indian Reservation. Four years ago, tribal leaders ended an agreement that allowed Yellowstone's pipeline on reservation land. The law requires renewal of the permit, but federal officials can add terms and conditions as necessary to protect the public and the environment. The pipeline transports gasoline to eastern Washington from refineries in the Billings area. Floods have uncovered parts of the 46-year-old, buried line. The statements notes " ... repair work results in chronic impacts on the stream and fisheries habitat. Flooding also subjects the pipeline to washout and poses risk of pipeline rupture and spill of products."
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