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It is the Comision Federal de Electricidad (CFE) of Mexico that wants to import gas from Texas for domestic consumption while Pemex develops the infrastructure it needs to take advantage of natural resources in Mexico. One of the pipelines, the Trans Pecos Pipeline, is the one that is planned to run through the Big Bend region. A Mother Jones story, The Pipeline That Texans Are Freaking Out Over (Nope, Not Keystone), outlines the anger of people in Presidio County, Texas.
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Beyond an obligatory newspaper post about the project (you know - the fine print in the classifieds that almost no one reads), there has been little mention of nor furor over the proposed pipeline. The environmental and cultural (archaeological, tribal, etc.) impacts have been largely glossed over. Concern for a possible contamination of our Hueco Bolson and the Rio Grande have gone without comment. What's worst of all is the potential of a gas line explosion at San Elizario. If that happens, bye, bye people of San Eli.
Both pipelines have been railroaded by the State agency which regulates them: the Texas Railroad Commission. However, to cross the border requires a Presidential Permit which triggers more rigorous reviews of the project. The Comanche Trail Pipeline people refer to their pipeline as "intrastate" and neglect to tell anyone about this one small detail - it becomes interstate when it crosses over into Chihuahua, Mexico. The Big Bend Conservation Alliance realizes this fact and are making a good argument that the companies behind the Trans Pecos are "segmenting" on purpose. They don't want the stricter federal guidelines, they want the complicity of the Texas Railroad Commission.
The same argument can be made about the Comanche Trail Pipeline.
Time is of the essence. Comments or interventions by stakeholders (the Audubon Society, local tribes, the County of El Paso for example) must be submitted by 3 PM this coming Monday, July 6. To efile a comment, you can go to http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/ecomment.asp and follow the directions. You probably should read the Comanche Trail Pipeline, LLC; Notice of Application first.
One does wonder what will happen to the natural gas going to Mexico once Pemex is able to exploit its own resources. The 42 inch pipelines have a capacity of up to 1.1 billion cubic feet per day. (CFE estimates that 1,475 million cubic feet per day will pass through the Comanche Trail Pipeline and that 1,350 million cubic feet per day will pass through the Trans Pecos Pipleline.) So where will the excess go, if indeed there is an excess? And will it all stop once Pemex is ready. Frankly, I find that the conjecture in the Big Bend Conservation Alliance blog quite possible if not probable.
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