Several days ago, Elizabeth “Liz” Sibley and her husband Hiram – Brewster County residents of some 40 years – received a large envelope in the mail. Inside was a copy of The State of Texas Landowner’s Bill of Rights and a typewritten letter.
“Dear Hiram and Elizabeth,” the letter, addressed by Legacy Field Services, stated. “Trans Pecos Pipeline LLC is developing a natural gas liquids pipeline project in Brewster County, Texas that may cross property in which you have an interest. At this stage of development, Comanche Trail Pipeline LLC is only requesting your permission to conduct surveys on your property to evaluate a potential route.”
The letter did not state which of the six properties that the Sibleys own they wanted to survey.
“They said they want to do a survey but they didn’t give us any specific information on our property,” Liz Sibley said. “It was extremely ambiguous, and I think the ambiguity sends out the wrong message.”
Such are the first development rumblings of the “Trans Pecos Pipeline,” a 42-inch pipeline that will span 143 miles underground from Waha, near Coyanosa, to Presidio and eventually cross the border at Ojinaga, Chihuahua, Mexico where it will supply natural gas to the northern, western and central parts of the country.
The pipeline, which is being led by a consortium of energy companies including Energy Transfer Partners, MasTec Inc. and Carso Energy, has already become a divisive issue among West Texas residents, some of whom fear that the project will attract the trappings of the gas and oil industry to the area. Others, like local officials from the financially struggling town of Presidio, see the project as an economic opportunity.