Washington, D.C. – Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, the ranking member of the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, sent a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano today asking her to consider the national security implications of the proposed Sasabe Lateral Gas Pipeline, a 60-mile pipeline projected to cut through the ecologically sensitive Altar Valley southwest of Tucson. The pipeline will allow the El Paso Natural Gas Company to export natural gas to Mexico.
Grijalva’s new letter is available at http://1.usa.gov/U0bEZd. The text is included below.
El Paso has requested a right of way to build a pipeline from Three Points, Ariz., to Sasabe, Sonora, Mexico. The company has proposed two potential routes for the project, both of which pass through the Altar Valley, an area home to the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge and a major corridor for illegal immigration and smuggling.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the lead agency responsible for granting the right of way, is preparing a draft Environmental Impact Statement (dEIS) that analyzes the proposed routes and other alternatives.
Grijalva’s letter cites border security concerns – echoed in a recent letter from U.S. Customs and Border Patrol official Roger San Martin to FERC – in asking Napolitano to urge FERC to consider alternatives that avoid the Altar Valley. San Martin’s letter is reviewable at http://1.usa.gov/RUsZ54.
Grijalva writes that FERC “should consider alternative routes that use existing infrastructure and avoid the Altar Valley. The construction of a pipeline along either proposed route will very likely create a corridor for illegal activity and complicate Customs and Border Patrol attempts to keep this country and its citizens safe.”
For more information about the proposed project, please contact El Paso Natural Gas Company at 1 (877) 598-5263.
November 14, 2012
Secretary Janet Napolitano
Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Washington, D.C. 20528
I write today regarding the proposed Sasabe Lateral Gas Pipeline Project in Southern Arizona. El Paso Natural Gas Company has requested right of way permits to build a new 60-mile natural gas pipeline just southwest of Tucson that would export gas to Mexico. I wish to highlight the project’s potentially severe national and border security implications, several of which have been raised by Border Patrol officials.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is currently preparing a draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for this project based on El Paso’s two proposed pipeline routes. Both routes cut through the Altar Valley, a pristine semi-desert grassland valley home to a conservation-minded community of private landowners and the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge. The area is home to a number of threatened or endangered species and is a known corridor for illegal immigration and drug smuggling.
In my view, because of these and related considerations, FERC should consider alternative routes that use existing infrastructure and avoid the Altar Valley.The construction of a pipeline along either proposed route will very likely create a corridor for illegal activity and complicate Customs and Border Patrol attempts to keep this country and its citizens safe. These concerns are shared in the attached letter from Roger San Martin, Patrol Agent in Charge of the U.S. Border Patrol’s Tucson Station.
I join him and other border patrol professionals in urging you to push FERC to consider alternatives that do not include the Altar Valley.
Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva
Member of Congress