Gas to Mexico
"Imagine what a small fire would turn into here in a matter of minutes."
Chained themselves to equipment
"It may not ultimately stop this pipeline, but I think it will definitely set the groundwork for future oil and gas regulation."
Rancher is arrested
Park geologist gets warning letter sent to boss
"The same thing happened with Dakota Access," Gibson explains, though the Corps has recently agreed to launch a new environmental impact study for that project.
As Bennett wrote to the newspaper in May 2015: "A pipeline on the scale of the one proposed by Energy Transfer Partners will permanently alter a 143-mile-long slice right through the middle of the Big Bend. It will be like a knife wound. I have done enough restoration work to know that they can never put it back together so that it supports the same vegetation or wildlife community."Commentary such as this, along with Bennett's attempts to seek information about the project as a parks employee, "are in violation of C.R.F. Part 2635: Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch," the Trans-Pecos contractor wrote in their subsequent letter to the park superintendent, referencing the law that punishes federal employees for unethical behavior.
Confusing regulations take county leaders by surprise"It's not something where you get up in the morning, you scratch your head, and say, 'I'm going to make a pipeline,'" says Luc Novovitch, who was as a Brewster County Commissioner when he learned about the project. "It's really heavy stuff. And we learned about it at the last minute, basically. That was very inconsiderate." Novovitch, a former photographer for Reuters now living a quiet life in Alpine, still remembers the meeting when Energy Transfer Partners executive Rick Smith made a presentation for the county, back in April 2015. Novovitch understood little about pipeline regulations at the time or why the project was happening."Mr. Smith stated that no construction can begin without the proper permits to go into Mexico," say minutes from that meeting, but as it turned out, there weren't many permits Energy Transfer Partners actually needed to obtain to begin with. Though the pipeline is built to deliver natural gas to Mexico, Energy Transfer Partners maintains that most of its project only needs to abide by state regulations, because the pipe goes through only one American state. "Trans-Pecos Pipeline is located solely in Texas and is designated as a Texas 'utility' pipeline in accordance with state regulations," says a presentation the company made in July 2015.