|Energy Transfer Partners natural gas pipeline explosion on June 14, 2015 in rural DeWitt County, Texas resulting in a massive fire and home evacuations (AP Photo)|
[Below is a letter from the Mayor of San Elizario written yesterday asking people to send in comments about the proposed Comanche Trail pipeline. elpasonaturally© posted about this pipeline this past Friday. The deadline for comments is today at 3 PM. As Mayor Sanchez says, commenting will take only five minutes of your time.
There are proposed natural gas pipelines planned for our region in the near future, that pose many concerns which include public health and safety, environmental impacts and threaten our potential for economic development and the first step in intervention carries a deadline of tomorrow, (Monday) July 6th at 3pm MST.
A little background:
Currently 3 or 4 natural gas pipelines currently exist in the area between the City of San Elizario and Fabens. (I'm still verifying the exact number.) OneOK, Inc. will begin laying a pipeline known as the Roadrunner in Sept. 2015 with plans for completion by April 2016.* Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) has recently filed a permit to lay a 42-inch, 192 mile long pipeline called the Comanche Trail Pipeline. Both are slated to export natural gas into Mexico. However, besides a few thousand feet at the connecting points of the border, both are under the jurisdiction of the state of Texas (Railroad Commission)--without Federal regulation--even though these are international private/public partnerships.
We ONLY have until Monday, July 6th at 3pm MST to request the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to intervene and place the entire Comanche Trail Pipeline under their jurisdiction. And the more people we can get to comment, the better our chances of having a voice.
And we have made it extremely easy to comment! It can be done online and I have provided a document that you may copy and paste. (Attached and in the dropbox link below.) Of course, you may write your own comment but it is important to do so before the 3pm MST deadline.
***Link to comment here***
Please note, in commenting you MUST reference our docket number CP15-503-000. (Please see sample)
Should you wish to write your own comment, here are a few points to consider:
1. There is no regulation determining how many pipelines are allowed. Should these pipelines proceed, there could potentially be 6 in a very small area with no cap currently in place.
2. There are quite a few people who now live in the vicinity and should an explosion or other incident occur, potentially thousands may be in danger.
3. San Elizario High School is less than a mile away from the proposed lines. The safety of our students is at risk.
4. Recently, two pipelines exploded. ETP had a 42-inch pipeline explode on June 16 and it could be seen from 20-miles away and another 4-inch pipeline exploded on June 25 that injured 4 people, two critically. (See news links at the bottom of this email for more info.)
5. Even if the pipelines are regulated in the US, we have no say as to what happens on the Mexican side and unfortunately, that is also less than a mile away.
6. Due to the number of natural gas pipelines in such a concentrated area, border security is an issue. This small section of our border which is essentially in our community, is extremely vulnerable and these proposed pipelines only increase the risk to national security.
7. These companies claim to help the economy by creating jobs but in reality, they import a team of experienced workers who have done this throughout the state. Once the pipe is laid, the jobs are gone anyway.
8. Most of the landowners oppose these pipelines (via an attorney representing a good deal of them) and are concerned about their farms and land being destroyed. OneOK has already stated they will impose eminent domain which leaves these landowners powerless.
9. The property values in our community will decline and the potential for development is severely stunted.
10. No regulation exists that requires these companies to do environmental or cultural studies. Therefore damage to the environment is a scary variable and our community's rich history is threatened.
This dropbox link has the following:
-Videos and photos of the Alpine area that shows how the natural landscape has been destroyed due to staging for Trans-Pecos Pipeline (also an ETP venture.)
-Proposed Roadrunner and Comanche pipeline routes.
-Comment sample (Word doc and PDF) that may be used for the FERC submission.
For more info on the Trans-Pecos Pipeline (which mirrors the Comanche Trail and may answer questions) visit here.
White Deer Explosion
Legislation Introduced Regulating Tax Deduction for Energy Companies
ETP announces pipelines in West Texas
ETP Billion $$$ Merger
*Please note, asking for Federal intervention via comments on the Roadrunner is not possible at this time as we missed the date. A tactic used by energy companies is to fly below the radar for as long as possible and unfortunately, they semi-succeeded on this one. But we're looking into our options and will fight for our City and the protection of both constituents and the environment alike. On that note, this request is also late due to the fact I only recently found out about the deadline for the Comanche Trail Pipeline. Five minutes of your day, that's all I ask!
Thank you for your help.