By Alicia Neaves
PRESIDIO - While some are voicing their concerns over the Trans Pecos pipeline running through the Big Bend region, others are saying bring it on over.
That's the mentality of many residents from the City of Presidio.
The proposed route for the pipeline lands off of FM 170 West, just minutes from downtown Presidio. While many think this pipeline is a bad idea, others are saying, 'We need this and we need it now.'
"Opponents of the pipeline say it's not gonna have any public benefit here in Texas. Well, in Presidio it will," said Brad Newton, Executive Director of the Presidio Municipal Development District.
Residents in Presidio are giving the Trans Pecos pipeline the green light. The reason why is simple: It will provide jobs, industry and a clean burning fuel to the city.
Local business owners say natural gas will help them grow.
"It will make us more competitive because we are working in a global, competitive market. We have transportation, international freight from Mexico to the United States," said Jacob Giesbrecht, Owner of Bullet Transport, Inc. in Presidio.
For Bullet Transport, converting to natural gas will save them $7,000 a week on transportation costs.
"If you have natural gas energy, which is a low-cost energy, you have a key ingredient for manufacturing also, which will be across the border," said Giesbrecht.
Presidio has never had natural gas. They use propane instead. The pipeline won't make it mandatory for residents to use natural gas. It will simply provide another option. Not to mention, the city will get a franchise out of it and receive a 2% sales tax on all gas sold - without any cost of construction since it's a private company in charge of it.
"So many of the places in West Texas have this sized pipeline and this sized pipeline. 'Those are not big enough, let's run another one.' With a 42-inch pipeline, I think we're only gonna need one. Especially since it's gonna be serving 3.7 million Mexicans in Chihuahua," said Newton.
West Texas Gas expressed interest in becoming Presidio's provider for natural gas. A chili plant is also looking to tap into Presidio. The only thing they'll need is natural gas.
While residents in Big Bend say the pipeline will destroy the environment and the beauty of the Big Bend, residents in Presidio think that won't be as destructive as they think.