After being criticized by some elected officials in West Texas for not being transparent enough about its plan to build a natural gas pipeline from the Permian Basin to Mexico, Dallas-based Energy Transfer is in the midst of new public outreach efforts.
The company behind the planned Trans-Pecos Pipeline hosted the first of two public meetings in the Big Bend region Tuesday night in Presidio.
The Big Bend Sentinel’s Sasha von Oldershausen was there and spoke to us about it on Wednesday’s Morning Edition.
Alpine Mayor Avinash Rangra, who’s been increasingly outspoken about his opposition to the pipeline, has specifically criticized the company for not speaking one-on-one with him about the pipeline plan.
Republican 23rd District Congressman Will Hurd, has also weighed in on the issue, saying recently that Energy Transfer had provided “cursory responses” to a series of questions the congressman provided the company.
A letter from Hurd to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) outlining those concerns came a few weeks before Presidio and Brewster counties asked the commission for expanded federal oversight of the pipeline plan.
On Monday, two El Paso County officials joined the Big Bend counties’ call for increased regulation on the Trans-Pecos Pipeline, but also another Energy Transfer project – the planned Comanche Trail pipeline that would carry natural gas from the Permian Basin to the border near San Elizario, TX.
In a letter to FERC, El Paso County Judge Veronica Escobar wrote that the two pipelines being planned at the same time “suggests that the applicant is attempting to segment the larger project into two smaller jurisdictional segments, while discounting the impacts of the larger project as a whole.”
“These smaller proposals would be less likely to trigger federal oversight and requirements, including thorough environmental and cultural assessments,” El Paso County Commissioner Vincent Perez wrote in a similar letter to the commission.
Both Judge Escobar and Commissioner Perez have asked the commission to look into whether federal regulations should govern the entire lengths of both pipelines.
Currently, FERC would only regulate small sections of the pipelines near the U.S.-Mexico border.
An Energy Transfer spokesperson wasn’t available for comment on the El Paso County officials’ comments on Tuesday.