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Pipeline opposition resolution fails at Alpine council meeting

June 4th, 2015 under Top Stories

By KVLF Alpine radio

ALPINE – Due to a substantial turnout for one particular agenda item, Alpine’s regular city council meeting was relocated to the civic center on Tuesday afternoon.

Most of the attendees were there to show support for item 12 on the agenda, to discuss and consider opposing – by resolution – the construction of the Trans Pecos Pipeline and all activities that promote its plans and operation “against the expressed will of the Council of the city of Alpine, Texas,” the agenda stated.

First to speak was attorney Steve Anderson, who assured the audience that the pipeline wasn’t a done deal. Several area residents also participated in the citizens comment section, during which all of them spoke out against the proposed pipeline.

Alpine Mayor Avinash Rangra made a short statement that he was concerned about the lack of transparency provided by pipeline company, Energy Transfer Partners.

When the time for a vote came, councilmember Julian Gonzales made a motion to accept the resolution. However, there was no second, and the motion died.

Additionally, since the motion was not seconded, there could be no discussion of the proposed resolution.

Following the failed motion, Joel Nelson, an area landowner and vocal opponent of the pipeline, stood and walked out of the civic center, followed by many others.

“Almost everybody filed out,” said David Keller, a representative of the Big Bend Conservation Alliance (BBCA), the grassroots organization that has been instrumental in spearheading the opposition campaign against the pipeline project. “They were either shocked, or outraged or both. I was both.”

In a later interview, Mayor Rangra, who drafted the resolution himself, remarked, “I am a little bit disappointed. I wish we had a second so that we could have discussion among the councilmembers and could take a vote.”

He added, “I am opposed to the pipeline because there is no information from the powers that be. It seems to me that they do not care about the community, which is tragic.”

Of the council members’ actions – or lack thereof – Rangra said, “I believe that my council are wise people; they know what the issues are; they know what people say on the street. I thought it could be passed.” He added,  “You never can tell.”

Keller saw the meeting as a setback. “It really feels like we’re being completely abandoned by the people who are supposed to be representing us,” he said.

Reporter Sasha von Oldershausen contributed to this report.

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