Borderland Exodus: Mexican Energy Development Spurs Depopulation Near Path Of Proposed Mexican Pipelines, by UT Energy Journalism Fellow Lorne Matalon

ReVista, the Harvard Review of Latin America, has published an article by 2016-2017 UT Energy Journalism Fellow Lorne Matalon. (read here)

A burned home in Guadalupe, Chihuahua. Residents in the Valle de Juárez living in towns that lie in the path of energy infrastructure development such as pipelines and new highways have been targets of arson, intimidation and murder. (photo: Lorne Matalon)
A burned home in Guadalupe, Chihuahua. Residents in the Valle de Juárez living in towns that lie in the path of energy infrastructure development such as pipelines and new highways have been targets of arson, intimidation and murder. (photo: Lorne Matalon)

The narrative focuses on one effect of Mexico’s energy reform program in the Valle de Juárez, an area that hugs the border with the United States southeast of El Paso, Texas. Pipelines that will send natural gas to the Mexican interior are under construction as is a major highway designed to accommodate the transportation of equipment used in oil and natural gas fields.

The U.S. government has allowed several hundred residents of the valley into Texas pending their asylum hearings. Chihuahua state pipeline regulators deny allegations of land displacement and violence stretching over the course of a decade. They dismiss stories recounted by hundreds of residents alleging authorities including the Mexican army and police have stood by idly as a shadowy mix of land speculators, alleged Chihuahua state government proxies and organized crime has forced people from their land as land values rise exponentially in anticipation of E&P activity in the region.