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OWENS SURPRISED BY REPORTS OF NEW ROLE ON GAS LINE PROBE

SHARE OWENS SURPRISED BY REPORTS OF NEW ROLE ON GAS LINE PROBE

Rep. Wayne Owens said he was surprised to hear he's supposed to organize an oversight committee to investigate the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's decision to allow a natural gas pipeline through south Davis county.

"I agreed to look at the safety issues," Owens said, but he did not know where the idea he would organize an oversight committee came from. He did say that he told the local leaders that if the safety issues were severe enough that he might ask an existing investigative subcommittee for a hearing.As part of his work on the House Interior Committee, Owens asked for information on whether the proper environmental and safety concerns had been answered for the pipeline from Wyoming to California - especially the stretch that will cross Bountiful and North Salt Lake.

"I made no promises," Owens said Wednesday afternoon. "I also told Jim Hansen I would follow his lead on this."

A public meeting to discuss the possibility of Owens organizing a committee to investigate the regulatory commission's process of approving the Wasatch Variation route will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Bountiful High School Auditorium, Sixth South and Orchard Drive.

Owens said neither he nor anyone representing him will attend the meeting. "It's not in my district," he said.

The Bountiful Hills Residents and Concerned Citizens Association say they have tried to get Owens' support because of Rep. Jim Hansen's "recent decision to terminate any efforts on his part in actively seeking alternate routes for the pipeline."

Hansen's office said that is ridiculous.

"I don't know of any decision by Congressman Hansen to not pursue this issue," said Peter Jenks, special assistant to Hansen.

Hansen, R-Utah, said that the proposed pipeline is on hold while the Wyoming-California Co. and the Kern River Gas Transmission Co. work out alternatives for it. "One has the rights for it, and the other has the financing."