Big Bend is a region that merits special care, and that’s why we understand the Big Bend region residents’ reaction to a proposed natural gas pipeline.
The 148-mile pipeline will pass through the Big Bend region and into Mexico, where it will deliver 1.4 billion cubic feet of natural gas daily. It’s reasonable for Alpine residents to fear that the pipeline will scar this area.
But it’s also an interconnected world, and sometimes in these fights, it’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture.
This pipeline, built by the consortium Energy Transfer Partners, will deliver natural gas to Mexico, where it will replace coal power plants. Mexico’s coal power is a major source of air pollution in Big Bend National Park (the pipeline does not pass through the park). As theHouston Chronicle reported in 2014, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has said sources from Mexico likely contribute up to half of the air pollution on Big Bend’s haziest days. Not connecting natural gas from the Permian Basin to Mexico has environmental costs, too.