Jeff Davis Commissioners Court Deflates Gas Pipeline Resolution

By John Waters

Although the proposed Trans-Pecos Pipeline will not traverse Jeff Davis County, Commissioners Court today declined to vote this morning on an agenda item regarding the proposed 143-mile natural gas pipeline. The resolution, presented by Fort Davis County resident John Luedecke was discussed briefly by the court and “Died for a lack of a motion,” declared Judge Jeanette Duer.

Luedecke told the court he feared opposition to the pipeline in Brewster County would cause the pipeline company Energy Transfer, to shift it north into Jeff Davis County.

Duer said the pipeline would be buried and ecological restoration work “Could remove the scaring,” caused by the pipeline. Luedecke countered, “Anybody wh0 has been out here knows it takes a long time in this country to come back.”

Pct. 1 Commissioner Larry Francell made a motion to table the item stating, “We should not do anything at this point in time because we don’t know if its coming through Jeff Davis County, we don’t want to do something premature,”

Commissioner Curtis Evans, Pct. 2, moved to not to even table the agenda item, and suggested if the pipeline route does include Jeff Davis County, landowners have the opportunity to meet with Energy Transfer a negotiate compensation.  “It’s coming folks [the pipeline] and if they eminent domain this property you don’t have a say,” said Evans.

“It’s coming” said Pct. 4 Commissioner Albert Miller.

No comments were made by Pct. 2 Commissioner Kerith Sproul.

“I’m disappointed in the lack of education on the part of our county commissioners. Right now Jeff Davis County is relatively safe from this [pipeline] but the work that we are doing in Brewster County is likely to shift pipeline back in this direction,” offered pipeline opponent Coyne Gibson. By his estimates, the tax revenue from the pipeline would generate about $30,000 per pipeline mile for Jeff Davis County. If an original 11-mile route through the county were ever to be built the county would receive about $330,000

Francell withdrew his motion to table the agenda item considering the resolution and it then died for a lack of a motion.

Although the resolution was neither read in court or passed, here is a text of it:

Whereas, the Comision Federal Electricidad (“CFE”) has issued a Request for Proposal for the Trans-Pecos Pipeline and

Whereas, the Commissioners Court has reviewed various maps of the proposed Trans-Pecos Pipeline route, including maps showing a route through southeast Jeff Davis County, and up the Alpine Valley in soutern Jeff Davis County; and

Whereas, Jeff Davis County, including the area of the proposed route is an area renowned for its archeological sites, scenic vistas and open spaces and is also home to multiple types of unusual and rare plants located in Jeff Davis County; and

Whereas, the size of the line, being a 42 inch high pressure natural gas line with multiple compressor stations, will be an intrusive and terrible scar on the landscape of Jeff Davis County, regardless of the precautions taken during construction oe remediation efforts; and

Whereas, the Commissioners Court of Jeff Davis County was not approached for input on the route selection or notified in any formal fashion of the proposed route of the Trans-Pecos pipeline; and

Whereas, the Trans-Pecos Pipeline, which is to benefit the government of Mexico, is a questionable means of resolving any actual or perceived natural gas shortages in Mexico given that the government of Mexico has only recently privatized its oil and gas industry, and has not given significant time for new natural gas drilling to develop in Mexico; and

Whereas, the Trans-Pecos Pipeline will be a permanent scar across a unique and beautiful landscape and will set a bad precedent for future pipelines and other types of easements along the same route, and

Whereas, there exist less objectionable routes for the Trans-Pecos Pipeline which do not include traversing and part of Jeff Davis County.

Therefore, it is resolved by the Commissioners Court of Jeff Davis County, Texas that:

1. Jeff Davis County is unalterably opposed to any portion of the Trans-Pecos Pipeline coming through Jeff David County particularly along the proposed route up the Alpine Valley;

2. It is requested that any regulatory or governmental authorities with any say-so or approval authority deny the construction of the proposed Trans-Pecos Pipeline along this route;

3. The County Attorney and the County Sheriff’s Office are hereby instructed to review the situation and to report to the Commissioners Court on any and all legal remedies that Jeff Davis County may have regarding any trespassing on private property and construction of the Trans-Pecos Pipeline in Jeff Davis County.

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