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Alpine City Council to Hear Citizen Comments on Trans-Pecos Pipeline

Pipe for the Trans Pecos Pipeline being staged southeast of Fort Stockton off Old Alpine Highway (John Jennings)

The Alpine City Council is holding a special meeting on Tuesday (May 5) at 4 PM to take comments from Big Bend area residents on the planned Trans Pecos Pipeline.

The meeting is scheduled to take place 90 minutes prior to the regular council meeting, so Alpine officials have time to hear from Big Bend area residents, many of whom are loudly opposed to the plan.

"We're gonna let people talk and let us know what it is that concerns them about this pipeline," says Ward 1 Council Member Angie Bermudez.

Bermudez says she's opposed to the pipeline, and would be willing to consider efforts to stop it from being built. She adds, though, she's not sure what can be done to accomplish that.

Energy Transfer, the company building the pipeline, is gearing up for construction. It said it hopes to start that by early 2016.

A plot of land behind the old Coca Cola bottling plant in Alpine - off FM 1703 - is being cleared, according to the Brewster County Judge's Office, to be used as a staging site for the pipeline.

Railroad shipments of pipeline have begun arriving at a staging site southeast of Fort Stockton.

Bermudez says one of her concerns is how the pipeline may cross the railroad tracks in Alpine, as it heads south to its destination at the border with Mexico. She wonders what would happen if the pipeline were to be buried beneath the tracks.

"You know, there's a lot of movement with that train going by. Won't that lead to something, a leak or something, with the gas pipeline?" she asks. "That's one of the things I'd like to hear from them."

The city council has asked Energy Transfer to provide them an update, as the company recently did for Brewster County Commissioners.

Travis Bubenik is All Things Considered Host and Big Bend Reporter at Marfa Public Radio.