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Carlsbad Caverns National Park Requests Your Input on Pipeline Project
Carlsbad – Carlsbad Caverns National Park is proposing to replace the park's primary water pipeline, which was damaged by freezing temperatures. A 30-day comment period to determine the scope of issues to address in the project has begun and the public is invited to participate.
In June 2011, four months after sections of the 6,930 foot-long pipeline froze, a wildfire destroyed much of the insulation around the above-ground pipeline and many of the wooden blocks that support it. The pipeline is the park's only distribution line to supply potable water to the visitor center, employee housing and park offices. Repairing or replacing the pipeline is necessary to restore a permanent, reliable source of water to the park and to protect the water line from future damaging natural events.
Before the park can replace or repair the line, it must prepare an Environmental Assessment (EA) for the project, in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The park must analyze a range of alternative ways to accomplish the work, as well as evaluate potential issues and effects on park resources. It also must come up with mitigation measures to lessen those effects.
The park is considering five alternatives:
A. No action
B. Minimal repair of the damaged section of water line
C. Replacement of the damaged pipeline with a similar above-ground water line
D. Replacement of the damaged pipeline with a buried pipeline along the same route
E. Removal of the damaged pipeline and storage tank and replacement with an on-demand pump system.
The National Park Service welcomes public participation in this process. There are two opportunities for formal comment; during initial scoping now (through May 28, 2013), and again after the EA is drafted and released. In both cases, we invite all to review the project details and alternatives and submit written comments online at the NPS Planning, Environment, and Public Comment website at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/. Click on the "pipeline" project header and then click on "Open for Comment" to review the project and submit comments.
For those who are not able to submit comments electronically via the website, written comments can also be mailed, or delivered in person, no later than May 28, 2013 to: Superintendent, Carlsbad Caverns National Park, 3225 National Parks Highway, Carlsbad, NM 88220.