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Leaked documents shed light on concerning details of pipeline construction plans: 'The locals were very shocked'

Pipeline construction in the area could destroy heavily relied on fish stocks as well as increase coastal erosion.


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A thriving marine habitat filled with corals and fish may face risk of destruction as a major energy company seeks to extend a gas pipeline through the ecosystem. 

Leaked documents obtained by Greenpeace reveal how Canadian company TC Energy claimed their proposed construction site wouldn't harm existing marine life. 

What's happening? 

In December 2023, TC Energy — the company that owns the Keystone Pipelinesigned a contract to extend a natural gas pipeline through the Gulf of Mexico. The South Texas-Tuxpan gas pipeline currently runs from the United States/Mexico border in Texas all the way to Tuxpan, Veracruz, and has transported billions of cubic feet of gas daily since it opened in 2019. 

By expanding the underwater highway, TC Energy claimed the pipeline could increase its supply to other areas in the county. However, experts with Greenpeace found severe potential environmental risks associated with the construction, according to Grist.

Leaked documents obtained by the organization reveal a general area of where the pipeline would be extended. The documents allegedly claim that at the request of TC Energy, Mexico's Safety, Energy and Environment Agency reviewed the area to look for active ecosystems. The agency allegedly dropped a 50-meter rope and concluded there wasn't enough evidence of an ecosystem. 

Why is this important? 

In its own investigation of the proposed pipeline site, Greenpeace found proof of thriving marine life. 

Pablo Ramirez, a climate and energy campaigner with Greenpeace Mexico, told Grist that if these ecosystems are disrupted, it could leave grave impacts on the marine life and livelihood of tens of thousands of people in nearby communities. Ramirez said pipeline construction in the area could destroy heavily relied on fish stocks as well as increase coastal erosion

At the same time, TC Energy said the pipeline project was "designed with sustainability in mind." 

"We believe in evidence and science-based decision making," the company told Grist. "This marine project route is one of the most studied routes ever undertaken."

This is clear evidence of greenwashing, as many residents in the region remain unaware of the actual risks from additional construction.

"The companies talk to local communities about all of the so-called benefits, but when we went to the communities afterward and presented that the projects are to transport methane, which can be explosive, the locals were very shocked," Ramirez said.

What's being done about this impact on marine life? 

Greenpeace is taking the lead on efforts to halt the construction of the pipeline extension. The organization is looking to delay the construction through litigation and advocacy campaigns and has been informing Veracruz residents of the actual risks the pipeline would bring. 

So far, Greenpeace has said many in the community are interested in their efforts to stop the construction and protect the flourishing marine life. 

"There is a lot of violence and repression for this kind of resistance," Ramirez added, discussing concerns locals have about protesting the pipeline. "So we're still trying to figure out the best way to do it, and how Greenpeace can assume the risk."

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