The Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors is considering asking federal officials to change a proposed natural gas pipeline route.

The board drafted a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that requests the El Paso Natural Gas pipeline, which runs from Tucson to Nogales, to be included as a proposed route in the draft environmental impact study for the proposed Sierrita Lateral Pipeline Project.

Energy company Kinder Morgan wants to build a new natural gas line between Tucson and Sasabe, which would deliver gas to Mexico.

Santa Cruz supervisors will vote next week on whether to suggest an upgrade to the existing pipeline, instead of the company constructing a new one.

The main concern for Santa Cruz County, and the city of Nogales, is that a new pipeline could divert development away from their communities.

Nogales Mayor Arturo Garino explained why he wants the existing pipeline upgraded.

"It would supply gas directly, with a bigger volume, through the city, in the city itself [and it] could probably, in the future, help us economically because some companies and warehouses…need more volume of gas," Garino said.

The Nogales City Council passed a resolution last week that expressed support for an alternative natural gas line that includes their city and Nogales, Sonora.

In March, the Pima County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution opposing a new pipeline if it were to run through the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge.

Read letter drafted by the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors on page 68.