Indigenous opposition has put at least a temporary hold on a TransCanada Corporation gas pipeline from Texas to central and western Mexico, just a couple of months after the Calgary-based pipeliner made it clear it planned to expand its operations in Mexico in the face of regulatory action and community pushback at home.
“Announced in 2015, the pipeline is intended to transport Texas natural gas from Veracruz to Hidalgo and supply the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) and industrial customers in central and western Mexico,” Mexico News Daily reports. But “the project came to a halt early this year when the Puebla municipalities of Pahuatlán and Tlacuilotepec obtained an amparo, or injunction, against it.”
Now, “that section of the pipeline is on standby while the federal Energy Secretariat conducts consultations with the Indigenous communities.”
TransCanada’s lawyers are fuming that civil society demands are “irrational” and border on “extortion”, the local news outlet reports.
“I don’t feel good saying it, but lawyers play a very bad role here,” said Electricity Commission lawyer Eugenio Herrera-Terrazas. Mexico News Daily says Herrera-Terrazas compared his professional peers to “ambulance chasers,” visiting towns along the pipeline route in search of “a slice of the pie”.
He said three other pipelines, one of them owned by TransCanada, are facing similar delays.
“These situations paralyze the issuance of permits in accordance to law, and threaten the project’s viability due to the financial burden they represent,” the TransCanada said, citing concerns with undefined boundaries between municipalities and rising costs of permitting. (h/t to former Energy Mix co-curator Chris Wood for hopping briefly out of retirement to point us to this story)