Houston Chronicle

SAN ANTONIO — The San Antonio City Council is jumping into a contentious debate over state eminent domain laws and the environmental impact of the growing number of proposed pipelines to move crude oil and natural gas  from the Permian Basin.

San Antonio becomes latest city considering anti-pipeline resolution-oilandgas360

Source: Houston Chronicle


The Houston company Enterprise Products Partners plans to build the 30-inch crude pipeline from the West Texas shale play to the company’s storage tanks and export terminals in the Houston area. Some initial proposals called for the project to go through the picturesque Texas Hill Country and over part of the Edwards Aquifer, the main drinking water supply for San Antonio.

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.

San Antonio becomes latest city considering anti-pipeline resolution-oilandgas360

Source: Railroad Commission of Texas

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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