San Antonio leaders take stand against proposed new pipeline

Austin, Texas isn’t alone in its stand against new pipelines. The City Council in San Antonio has approved a similar stand against a new line to carry crude products out of the Permian Basin to refineries along the Gulf Coast.

It took the action after Enterprise Products Partners of Houston announced plans to build a 30-inch crude pipeline from West Texas shale play to terminals in Houston. The line would go through Texas Hill Country and over the Edwards Aquifer that is a main drinking water supply for San Antonio.

 

The San Antonio Express-News reports although those plans were scrapped, city leaders responded by drafting a resolution against any future pipeline project from getting built over the environmentally sensitive region and asking state leaders to give landowners and communities a stronger voice and more input for pipeline routes.

Enterprise officials did not respond to a request for comment. The company has not finalized a route, but in an early October statement, the company said that the pipeline would not cross the Edwards Aquifer and its recharge area, located to the north and northwest of San Antonio and home to several endangered species of salamanders, fish and beetles.

San Antonio’s proposed resolution comes when several communities to the north are raising similar concerns and fighting the Permian Highway Pipeline, a natural gas project proposed by Houston pipeline operator Kinder Morgan. Citing safety and environmental concerns, some 19 cities, counties, school districts and other public entities in the Texas Hill Country have filed resolutions condemning the Permian Highway Pipeline and asking state leaders for stricter laws.

The Texas Real Estate Advocacy and Defense Coalition, a nonprofit landowners group fighting the Permian Highway Pipeline, applauded San Antonio for jumping into the debate.

“We are grateful to San Antonio for calling attention to the absurdity of allowing a for-profit company to take private land and put our water at risk without so much as input from the public or an environmental impact study,” the coalition said in a statement.

Unlike interstate pipelines that cross state lines, projects that are contained entirely within Texas state boundaries such as Enterprise’s project are subject to a shorter review and approval process. In the San Antonio resolution, which has yet to be approved, city leaders ask the state to require pipeline companies to undergo a more rigorous review process similar to that for building power transmission lines, which requires public meetings and input from residents and communities across the route.

San Antonio already has plenty of pipelines. Pipelines for crude oil and refined products can be found to the south and east of the city while natural gas pipelines are found to the north where some are routed across the Edwards Aquifer, Railroad Commission of Texas records show.

Enterprise Products Partners, Dallas pipeline operator Energy Transfer and San Antonio’s municipally owned utility company CPS Energy have built natural gas transmission pipelines over the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone, but there are no crude oil pipelines over the environmentally sensitive region.

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