Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Big Bend Biology 101 for the FERC Commenter

During the first open comment period, over 300 local residents filed comments on ETP's request for permitting for the border crossing segment of the proposed Trans Pecos Pipeline.

The next round of comments will be due on August 24. For this round, in order to be most influential, comments must be more highly-detailed, focusing specifically on environmental and cultural impacts of the project.

The results of this next commenting period could have the power to force an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the entire 143-mile route. An EIS is a far more thorough (as well as costly and time-consuming) process than the EA. An EIS has the potential to slow the proposed project down substantially.

While everyone will be strongly encouraged to compose comments referencing already-available data (to be provided), help from those with special knowledge in local biology and archeology are also being sought! Several workshops will be set up in the coming days to coordinate research efforts, possible field studies (though access to specific sites – while helpful – may not be entirely necessary), and comment-writing strategy.

Since as many of us as possible will need to quickly become "amateur experts", a good place begin is the following document:

CONSERVATION ASSESSMENT for the BIG BEND/RIO BRAVO REGION: A Bi-national Approach to Conservation

There are 29 Priority Conservation Areas listed in the Conservation Assessment.
The proposed Trans-Pecos Pipeline passes through or very near seven of them:

Marfa Grasslands
Alpine Grasslands
Marathon Grasslands
Glass Mountains
Davis Mountains
Chinati Mountains
Alamito Creek

Also listed in this document are “conservation targets” for each of the PCAs. These include invertebrates, amphibians, reptiles, fish, birds, mammals, vegetation, and aquatic environments.

Please stay tuned for more info! 

If you have special expertise in any of these areas or would like to get involved, please email If you are not already subscribed to the the defendbigbend riseup email list and would like to be, please let us know.

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