Council tables pipeline plan

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Manvel city council tabled two important votes at the sole December council meeting. One was on the granting of a franchise to Enterprise Crude Pipeline Company on the construction of pipeline facilities through the city. Mayor Delores Martin proposed the table measure explaining that she would like to see a review of the city’s franchise ordinance before voting. She cited a previous agreement with a pipeline company that failed to honor a performance bond to repair roadways that were damaged by heavy truck traffic through parts of the city. The company offered a flat payment of $25,000 which the mayor said was insufficient to repair the damages done. The company took the stance that the city could not prove their truck traffic were the cause of the damage and refused to honor the bond.

A recent pipeline agreement reached with Phillips Petroleum Company provided the city a $2 million guarantee in the form of a cash fund to draw on if similar types of damages were incurred. The mayor would like a similar type of commitment to be mandated in a city ordinance for future agreements. Representatives from the company were apparently caught unaware by the tabling action. A spokesman told council that he was surprised by the action but did indicate a willingness to work with the city to meet what requirement they come up with. He also suggested that the concern should not be with the performance bond on the franchise agreement but rather on the hauling and transportation component of the project.

The city attorney, Bobby Gervais, concurred with the company explaining to council that the dispute would be better addressed in the “Heavy Haul” permit that would be issued for the truck and transport component of the pipeline installation. The performance bond put up by the company is more a guarantee of completion of the project, or a restoration bond as Gervais put it, in case they fail to complete the work. “The heavy haul is a totally different thing and will depend on the types and numbers of vehicles they have and the weight they are,” Gervais said.

Council unanimously agreed with the mayor in her thought that “we need to have all our ducks in a row before we get started. We still need to address what we have and get it right for anyone who comes after.” The matter will be taken up again at the January 12 meeting.

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