The seat of Hudspeth County, Sierra Blanca is located 80 miles southeast of El Paso toward Van Horn on I-10 and Ranch Road 1111.
It is also at the junction of the Southern Pacific and Missouri Pacific railroads. The town owes its existence to the competition that surrounded the construction of the nation's second transcontinental rail link.
In the early 1990s a waste-disposal company based in Oklahoma purchased more than 90,000 acres near Sierra Blanca, and in the summer of 1992 trains began arriving with treated sewage from New York City; an average of 225 tons a day was dumped there. In February 1992 the state of Texas selected Sierra Blanca as the site of a low-level radioactive-waste depository. Many area citizens were critical of the sludge dump and of the proposed radioactive-waste facility, citing the potential health hazards, and in the mid-1990s a local citizens' group was trying to fight the disposal projects.