BROWNSVILLE, RGV – Leaders from various chambers of commerce and economic development corporations attended a news conference this past week to announce their support for the Annova LNG Brownsville Project.
Annova, an Exelon Generation company, hosted the news conference at the Port of Brownsville. The company is seeking environmental clearance from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to build a liquefied natural gas export terminal at the port. A FERC scoping meeting was held in Port Isabel last Tuesday.
In order of appearance, here are extracts from the speeches given by the various business leaders at the news conference:
Maribel Guerrero, environmental consultant for Annova LNG:
“We are at the cusp of attracting great paying jobs and securing our place as an energy leader, not only in the state but on the international stage as well. LNG is a clean, safe, form of energy and its presence in the Rio Grande Valley would be transformative for our economy. The Annova LNG Brownsville Project is economically smart and environmentally sound. Safety and the security of the environment are top priorities and we have been recognized numerous times for our commitment to safety and the well-being of our environment.”
Omar Garcia, president of the South Texas Energy & Economic Roundtable:
“It is my pleasure to stand before you today on behalf of the South Texas Energy & Economic Development Roundtable to endorse the construction and operation of the Annova LNG Brownsville Project. STEER is an oil and gas trade association that is focused 100 percent on South Texas for the oil and gas industry.
“We are in the midst of an energy transformation. New exploration and extraction technologies have opened vast natural gas reserves for development. Annova LNG will help secure the Rio Grande Valley’s position in the global energy market. This project will bring new infrastructure to the area and will require a skilled workforce. As an industry that is focused on new technologies and improvement in efficiencies, it is important to continue encouraging our children to focus on STEM-related career educational paths – a path that will enable them to serve in a highly-skilled and a high paying job in the Rio Grande Valley.
“In 2013 alone, the oil and gas activity throughout the Eagle Ford Shale region generated an economic impact of approximately $87 billion. That’s $87 billion in the South Texas region and over 154,000 full-time jobs in the oil and gas industry, transforming the lives of many in South Texas. The Rio Grande Valley is now positioned to take part in this phenomenal economic development that we are experiencing in South Texas.
“By going through the FERC process, Annova LNG will abide by the rigorous approvals and permitting. Beyond that they have demonstrated their commitment to protecting the environment and being good, corporate citizens in the community in which they do business, values that are important to STEER and our members. We look forward to seeing these same values shared throughout all of South Texas. On behalf of my board of directors, STEER fully supports the Annova LNG Brownsville Project.”
David Chung, president of Annova LNG:
“We are very excited to be here on behalf of the entire Annova LNG Brownsville team. Annova LNG is proposing to build a liquefied natural gas transfer facility in the Port of Brownsville. Effectively, the facility will take the same natural gas that flows through our homes. After pre-processing it will cool it and bring it into a liquid state. By bringing it into a liquid state it shrinks by a little over 600 times. This makes it easier to put onto ships and transport to potentially overseas destinations. The state-of-the-art facility will bring approximately 165 permanent jobs with an average salary of about $70,000 each, an investment of $2.9 billion. Again, we are very excited to be here. Again, we are excited to be here.”
Tony Cappella, board chair of Brownsville Economic Development Corporation:
“It is a special honor and privilege to be here today. I want to take this time on behalf of the Brownsville Economic Development Council to thank the Port of Brownsville and Annova LNG. The key to economic success in this region is in the ability to create and maintain traffic and the shipment of goods through our different ports of entry. Every time a ship sails into our port the ripple effect of its economic impact is felt in this region, generating thousands of jobs through its intricate supply chain and logistics. And, in the near future, we could potentially see a new industry which could create a supply valued chain in the natural gas sector. Supporting LNG from our Port would support hundreds of jobs in such fields as engineering, construction, manufacturing, maintenance and facilities operations. Annova LNG will cultivate commerce and keep the Port of Brownsville connected to all vital points of the global market. The Port is an international connection to cities across the globe and the Annova LNG project will enhance our connectivity to the world.”
Mike Gonzalez, CEO of United Brownsville:
“As executive director of United Brownsville, I am pleased to personally support the Annova LNG Brownsville Project. The LNG industry will secure the Rio Grande Valley a place as an energy hug for the world. Our community is poised to attract not just great paying LNG jobs but also new corporate citizens. I have been pleased to learn about Exelon’s commitment to improving the quality of life of the cities in which they locate. And I look forward to working with Exelon to expand prosperity for our citizens here in Brownsville.”
Roxanne Guenzel, president of South Padre Island Chamber of Commerce:
“I am here today on behalf of our Chamber’s board of directors to support LNG and the Port of Brownsville as they further develop and fully utilize their facilities here at the Port. We have been very pleased with our relationship with Annova and Exelon and we are excited. As one of the neighboring communities we stand to see some great economic benefits from the project and Exelon has proven to us that they have a good track record with safety and environmental stewardship and they have already been good community partners, not only at the Island but I believe as well.
“We look forward to the company continuing that relationship for our region and the economic and environmental issues that we all have concerns about can co-exist. We feel strongly that every effort will be made to keep those two in harmony and ensure that the facility will be designed with safety and preservation of the environment as top priorities. We are confident that the FERC process will properly address all of those safety and environmental issues. Again, South Padre Island Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors supports Annova and LNG and the Port of Brownsville.”
Val Champion, executive director of Los Fresnos Chamber of Commerce:
“As one of Brownsville’s neighboring communities, we are proud to support the Annova LNG Project. Los Fresnos will see many benefits from good paying jobs that will be generated during the construction phase and the ongoing operation of the facility. Los Fresnos is 20 minutes from the Port. Our schools, businesses and residents will benefit in many, many, different ways from families that could come to live in our community. Development at the Port of Brownsville has been contemplated and encouraged and we strongly support Annova LNG.”
Chris Gonzales, president of Harlingen Area Chamber of Commerce:
“This project will be transformative for the Cameron County region and entire Rio Grande Valley. As one of Brownsville’s neighboring communities, we are proud to endorse the development of Annova LNG and the commitment they have to our community. Annova LNG must meet standard federal public safety environmental protection established by numerous federal, state and local entities. Because of this we do fully endorse this project. We feel that with this project coming, our community colleges and our local schools will prosper and grow. Because of this we do give our full endorsement.”
Julian Alvarez, president & CEO of the Rio Grande Valley Partnership:
“The Rio Grande Valley Partnership is a regional chamber of commerce which represents the business community so we are proud to be here. Thank you for inviting us. On behalf of the Rio Grande Valley Partnership and our board of directors I am proud to be here to support Annova LNG in Brownsville. The Brownsville project can help secure the Valley’s place as an energy leader. The Rio Grande Valley would see great economic benefits from the project, from contracting jobs, which was stated earlier, construction jobs to even shop and restaurant owners who have seen a spike in business thanks to the community that has access to good paying jobs.
“LNG is also an industry that we can be proud of. LNG is one of the cleanest, safest forms of energy and since its resurgence in the 1960s LNG operators have amassed more than 60 years of transportation and operational experiences with little or no impact on the general public. Annova LNG would help diversity in the Rio Grande Valley’s economy and the RGV Partnership fully supports the project. David, we want to thank you and your team for everything you are doing. That has been a great help and asset. So when people do call and ask us about things it is easy for us to reach out to your team. We appreciate all you have done for us.”