Sunday, September 28, 2014

Grindstaff Recruits Frac Sand Companies

Texas Pacifico's Elizabeth Grindstaff said during her election campaign that she helped businesses using rail services locate in our area.  She won her City Council seat which enabled her to hear citizens concerns about a fracking sand offloading facility which will take train hauled sand and load it into eighteen wheeler trucks.

Citizens Patty Tharp and Jesse Martinez shared concerns about a negative health impact, heavy trucks driving through community neighborhoods and potential damage to physical property.

City Councilwoman Charlotte Farmer said council would consider the definition of light manufacturing which allows the sand offloading facility without any review or approval. 

Grindstaff stayed silent.  It reminded me of Mayor Alvin New saying during a requested MedHab update, "I know alot more than that, but let's go with what's presented.  OK."

Elizabeth Grindstaff knows much about the fracking sand facility.  It's her job to recruit and locate rail oriented businesses to our community, as evidenced by this story in Progressive Railroading.

Since frac sand and crude oil now account for 60 percent and 20 percent of total traffic, respectively, Texas Pacifico's volume figures to keep booming right along with the basin.

"I get a call a day. It's the sand people and the oil people and the pipe people and the hydrochloric acid people — pretty much the people involved in every aspect of drilling," says Federico Díaz-Page, the short line's executive vice president.

The inquiries about rail-served sites for crude or frac sand operations poured in so frequently last year, Díaz-Page in October 2012 hired Elizabeth Miller Grindstaff as vice president of sales and marketing. Formerly San Angelo's assistant city manager, Grindstaff now fields the calls and handles business development.

"We're not really out there selling. We're in reactive mode," she says. "My role is to react to the interest shown, to answer the questions and to find the real estate that suits customers."

Frac sand is 60% of Texas Pacifico's traffic.  It has to be offloaded somewhere.  Texas Pacifico should speak to the process and criteria used to identify the offloading site.  City staff and leaders have an obligation to ensure the plant belongs in an appropriate location and its operations won't harm citizens or property

Grindstaff has a conflict of interest simply by her Vice President of Sales and Marketing position with Texas Pacifico.  That means she can't vote on this issue, but she can speak the truth if asked.

This issue will be interesting to watch because much lies below the surface.  Charlotte Farmer was recently reappointed to the Port to Plains board, representing the City of San Angelo.  Farmer spoke eloquently to the Development Corporation about the tremendous impact Texas Pacifico railroad will have on our economy and community.  Citizens in several neighborhoods may soon experience that very impact.

Watch City Councilwomen Elizabeth Grindstaff and Charlotte Farmer on this issue.  Sometimes they can be two peas in a pod.   Will they be two cars in a frac sand train?  They call it progressive railroading....

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