Vista Ridge pipeline project gets backing of city leaders, mayor

City leaders believe economy will benefit

SAN ANTONIO – On Thursday, the San Antonio City Council will hold a vote to decide the fate of the Vista Ridge pipeline project.

It is expected to pass, but to ensure that decision, several civic leaders publicly put their support behind the project on Tuesday.

"The game has changed and water has become more important," said former San Antonio Mayor and Founder and Chairman of CityView, Henry Cisneros. "So this is fundamentally different -- historically different -- than any other water opportunity we've ever had before us."

"The reality is that we are competing with other cities in Texas for a limited water supply," added David McGee, chairman of the board at the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce.

The pipeline's benefit to the economy was echoed by all those speaking Tuesday morning.

"This project will ensure that we will have the water supply, so that our economy can continue to grow," said San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor.

District 9 Councilman Joe Krier, who organized the event, believed the pipeline means more jobs for the San Antonio area.

"Water is to our economy what oil and gas was last century," said Krier. "You either have it or you don't, and if we lose this deal, we'll be among those who don't."

Still, several groups have voiced concerns over the pipeline.

Mayor Taylor and Councilman Krier were asked if they had read the lengthy contract and were comfortable with its contents.

"The issue, of course, from my vantage point is: Is the city attorney comfortable with the contract? We pay him to analyze it in great depth. The answer is that he is," said Krier.

"We are comfortable with the contract," added Taylor.

Both said they were satisfied with the transparency and speed of the entire process of negotiations.

"All the meetings and negotiations have been public," said Taylor. "So I think that there has been ample opportunity for the public to engage."

Taylor said she also believed that the pipeline would not result in overdevelopment of the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone.

Meanwhile, several media outlets are reporting that Abengoa, one of the companies behind the construction of the pipeline, is under investigation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Labor Department in other states.

"We're confident that the way the deal is structured, that Abengoa will be able to move forward and that the risk to San Antonio is entirely minimized," said Taylor in response.

"I am very comfortable with the company's ability to perform," added Krier.

About the Author

Justin Horne is a meteorologist and reporter for KSAT 12 News. When severe weather rolls through, Justin will hop in the KSAT 12 Storm Chaser to safely bring you the latest weather conditions from across South Texas. On top of delivering an accurate forecast, Justin often reports on one of his favorite topics: Texas history.

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