After State Representative Eddie Lucio III told News Center 23 he withdrew as legal counsel to the Valley Crossing Pipeline last week, some environmentalists and activists delivered an open letter to the State Representative’s office.
Mary Helen Flores, with Citizens Against Voter Abuse, read the open letter at Lucio’s office, who was not in at the time.
Flores said the request for a no conflict of interest pledge was at the heart of the letter, and the demonstration was about his ethical responsibility above all.
“Your service as the legal counsel for Valley Crossing Pipeline, put you in a position which prevented you from discussing this vital issue with your constituents,” Flores read.
While the demonstrators appreciate of him withdrawing, they seek more transparency from Lucio III.
“We just want some accountability, we want to know when did he accept [the job] how much he was paid and how much he reimbursed,” said Joseph Cantu, a South Padre Island native and business owner.
Local activist John Young asks Lucio III to protect the health and safety of residents.
“The Valley Crossing Pipeline is 168 miles long, a 48 inch pipeline that will operate at a pressure of 1,750 pounds per square inch that translates to a blast zone radius of 1/4 mile,” Young told News Center’s 23’s Marlane Rodriguez at the demonstration.
Activists are also concerned about the environment.
“My goal is to make sure that our planet goes on in full force for our children and their children as well,” said Cecilia Montalvo, an Earth protector.
“There are no jobs on a dead planet- period,” said Alfonso Cantu, a South Padre Island resident and business owner.
Although Lucio III was out of office he provided a statement to News Center 23 through on the phone.
“From what I gathered from the letter, there are a lot of demands in there that are just not merited. There are a lot of accusations that are unfounded,” Lucio III said over the phone.
Regarding the statements in the letter, Lucio III said “There is no ethical violation, I think of ethics as a definition defined in the law. I do not make any decisions before the legislature that impact this pipeline.”
“This pipeline was permanent before they came to talk to me about representing them as local counsel on a few easement acquisitions,” he added. “My involvement was strictly a few easement disputes that were more administrative than litigation in nature that was my only involvement I put in a total of maybe 10 hours working on two separate cases, and I’ve since withdrew.”
Lucio III said he may meet with another group of environmentalists next week to create a dialogue.
Flores said the demonstrators will follow up with Lucio on their request for a no conflict of interest pledge.