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After Trespass Allegations, Spriggs Lets Pipeline Company Continue Surveys

One of the pipeline route surveying stakes James Spriggs discovered in his property. (Travis Bubenik / KRTS)

The Presidio County rancher who claimed pipeline surveyors working for Energy Transfer trespassed on his property tells Marfa Public Radio he has now signed a permission form giving surveyors access to his land.

The planned Trans-Pecos Pipeline route runs through part of James Spriggs’ ranch south of Marfa.

Spriggs formally gave the company permission to continue surveying last Monday (December 7), after his lawyers told him it could become a costly court battle if he didn’t sign. He said environmental surveyors for the company have been on his property in recent weeks.

In August, Spriggs had strong words for the company after workers came onto his land and put out survey stakes without his permission. He has continually expressed his opposition to the pipeline plan.

Energy Transfer said the incident was a mistake - that the surveyors crossed onto his land without realizing it because of "unclear county records."

He talked at the time about being new to the whole experience.

"I've never had a lawyer before, this is just something they're just forcing on us," he said in August. "I know everybody's got their own desire, whether they want to see it come through or not, but I don't appreciate 'em coming through and taking my property."

Spriggs hasn't yet signed an agreement with the company to allow construction of the pipeline through his land.

He’s said before he would fight the company in court. Since then, he's said the legal battle might not be worth the expense, though he hasn't made any final decisions on how to proceed, as he hasn't yet gotten an offer from the company for a construction agreement.

An Energy Transfer spokesperson said she did not have time for questions until after the holidays, but said the company is "still in the beginning stages of the easement process."

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