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Worried about safety, a small West Texas town challenges planned cross-border pipeline

Critics are calling on federal regulators to increase their scrutiny and oversight of the proposed pipeline, which would send gas from Texas to the Mexican coast for export to other countries.

by Alejandra Martinez, The Texas Tribune, and Martha Pskowski, Inside Climate News
The skyline of Van Horn, Texas, where residents are raising concerns about a proposed natural gas pipeline.

Penny Self, owner of the Van Horn RV Park, says she worries the proposed Saguaro pipeline would endanger her customers. The RV park is within one mile of the pipeline route.

An intrastate pipeline with international impacts

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The pipeline route continues south and west of Van Horn toward the border with Mexico.
A modest residential area of mobile homes and small houses south of Van Horn is within a quarter mile of the proposed pipeline route. The population of Van Horn is predominately low-income.

“It’s a helpless situation”

Yolanda Carmona visits the undeveloped property where she plans to build a house on the south edge of Van Horn. Carmona is a third generation rancher in Culberson County.
Van Horn and nearby towns including Marfa and Sierra Blanca rely on volunteer fire departments. Culberson County's emergency management coordinator worries they would not have the capacity to respond to an explosion or fire on the pipeline route.

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