By SASHA von OLDERSHAUSEN
FAR WEST TEXAS – After more than 600 comments were filed to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in protest of the Trans Pecos Pipeline, which has already been rubber stamped by the U.S. Departments of State and Defense, FERC issued a notice of schedule for the pipeline’s environmental review.
But while the opposition has encouraged the federal commission to include the entirety of the 143-mile pipeline in its review, the notice indicated that the environmental assessment would only cover the small portion of pipeline that is slated to run beneath the Rio Grande.
“Trans-Pecos proposes to construct and operate the Presidio Border Crossing Project, consisting of approximately 1,093 feet of FERC-jurisdictional 42-inch-diameter natural gas pipeline in Presidio County, Texas,” the notice stated.
However, members of the opposition argue that the notice does not preclude the possibility of a complete Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to review the entire length of the pipeline.
“FERC is doing what we expected, and what is required by FERC rule and order under the law. They will be analyzing, assimilating, and publishing an Environmental Assessment of the proposed Presidio Crossing Project…and considering the cumulative impact of the non-jurisdictional, intrastate segment—the nominal 143-mile proposed Trans-Pecos Pipeline,” wrote Coyne Gibson, who has been instrumental in the pipeline’s opposition campaign.
He added, “The EA will conclude what FERC’s next action could be—the requirement for a complete Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the jurisdictional facility, and/or the non-jurisdictional facility, or a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI). We don’t know for certain until the EA is published for review.”