City council passed a resolution March 5 to oppose the development of the Permian Highway Pipeline, which would extend from West Texas to the Gulf Coast.
According to the resolution, the city of San Marcos requests immediate action by all members of both houses of the Texas Legislature to protect landowners, landowners’ property rights and communities from the negative impacts the Permian Highway Pipeline and other potential oil and gas pipelines could bring.
During the crowded regular City Council session, residents packed the chamber to voice opposition. In attendance were representatives from the Wimberley Valley Watershed Association and a consultant for Kinder Morgan, the company developing the pipeline.
Ashley Waymyth, managing director for the Wimberley Watershed Association, said she went to represent the Hill Country and the watershed association. According to Waymyth, the association opposes the pipeline because of its negative environmental impacts.
“We’re opposed to the pipeline because of the effects to the groundwater and the spring systems of this region,” Waymyth said. “We’ve been working for the past 23 years to protect the water and the land of the Hill Country, so this pipeline directly conflicts our interests.”
Waymyth said the watershed association has talked to Kinder Morgan through the landowners, and Kinder Morgan has scheduled meetings with the community to walk through the Hill Country, but they have canceled any scheduled meetings. There has yet to be a sit-down face-to-face interaction between the two.
Waymyth also said the watershed association is trying to put together a lawsuit case against Kinder Morgan.
“We’re putting together a litigation case to hopefully take them to court and show them we’re serious about getting them out of this region,” Waymyth said.
Kinder Morgan consultant Greg Neil spoke as a representative of the company and asked the council to deny the resolution.
“I’m here this evening to ask you to reject the resolution as unnecessary and ill-conceived,” Neil said. “Are we a group of communities that say no based on an attitude of anti-development, anti-energy, and anti-commerce? Or are we still the pioneers committed to improving our lives and creating opportunities for all who are interested (in) utilizing resources widely?”
Neil said he could not answer questions regarding certain aspects of the development, such as the probability of a different route for the pipeline. He said his presentation was to engage Kinder Morgan in further discussion
Councilwoman Jocabed Marquez said she voted in favor of the resolution because of the potential environmental impacts.
“The facts are there obviously,” Marquez said. “With the leaks, the contamination and the harmful effects to our river and aquifer.”
Texas senators are currently reviewing SB421, a bill aiming to reform eminent domain laws in Texas. Construction of the pipeline is expected to begin in the fall 2019 and be completed by 2020.