Hutto leaders opposed to Valero's proposed 70-mile pipeline

HUTTO, Texas (KXAN) -- Hutto city leaders are voicing their concerns about Valero's $200 million pipeline project, which would be capable of transporting up to 60,000 barrels of refined gasoline or diesel daily from Hearne to Williamson County.

The 70-mile, 12-inch pipeline project includes the construction of a terminal on Farm to Market 1660 in Williamson County, just east of the county's landfill located at 600 Landfill Road in Hutto. The proposed site is located within the Hutto Growth Corridor and the city says the project does not fit within their comprehensive plan for growth in that area.

Valero and city leaders met Thursday at the request of the city manager after they received questions raised by concerned residents.

Mayor Doug Gaul said they've requested that Valero consider project sites outside of Hutto, its extraterritorial jurisdiction and growth areas.

"We are also concerned about the location and its proximity to residential subdivisions such as San Gabriel River Estates off of 131 and 1660, and the new high school and middle (school) planned to be built off of 1660," Gaul said in a statement to KXAN. "Furthermore, we believe that the amount of truck traffic and potential for future hazardous spills can have an adverse affect to the quality of life for those residents as well as our children who will be attending the new schools."

However, a Valero news release states they are committed to working with stakeholders and landowners and are developing a proposal which will minimize impact to the environment, cultural concerns and landowners during its construction.

"We are identifying the route and installation methods in an effort to minimize the risk of impact on sensitive areas, preferentially following the route of existing pipelines or other utilities where possible," according to Valero.

No official timeline for the project has been released, but the San Antonio-based corporation is in the process of acquiring permits and meeting with landowners and community leaders impacted by the proposal as they finalize the pipeline route and terminal details, Valero spokesperson Lillian Riojas said in an email to KXAN.

Despite Hutto's opposition, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality records show Valero has already paid a $75,000 fee for an air permit. The status of that permit was still pending on Friday.

Meanwhile, Gaul said residents are always welcome to voice their concerns with city leaders.

"The City is going to work with other governmental entities in addressing the issues raised by the proposed development," Mike Shaunessy, legal counsel to the city of Hutto, said in a news release.

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