PRESIDIO, Texas — The proposed Trans-Pecos Pipeline that would bring natural gas from the Permian Basin to Mexico has been cited by the City of Presidio as a key to its economic development. But construction slated to start this month on a chili plant tied to the prospects of the pipeline coming to West Texas has been temporarily delayed.
Money and jobs will come to Presidio once a pipeline is built to bring Permian Basin natural gas to the border, near the City of Presidio and into Mexico – that’s the narrative of Presidio officials. As Exhibit A, they point to a chili processor from New Mexico who says he’ll build a new plant in Presidio on the expectation that gas is coming.
“The biggest reason we’ve been unable to come to the area is cause of a lack of natural gas,” said Don Biad, managing partner of the Biad Chili Company in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
He buys chili peppers from a Mennonite community in Chihuahua. He says it’s less expensive to process peppers in Presidio than to truck them back to New Mexico. He’d hoped to start construction by Oct 1st.
But that’s been pushed because there isn’t sufficient water on the first site that was being considered. But Biad says this is a delay, not a dead end.
“We need to start very soon if we’re going to catch next year’s chili harvest season. And that’s our hope and our intent,” he said.
He says the link between natural gas and his company’s bottom line is clear.
“If the natural has does not get there, we will not put the plant there. I understand there’s some political opposition to it. I understand there may be some delays,” he explained.
“But if the prospects for that being the case do not materialize, does not ever happen, then we would not be there because it just doesn’t work. It’s the difference between whether or not our company is profitable or not profitable.”
The chili peppers are processed into spice used by food manufacturers.
– Lorne Matalon