The magic Rio Grande Valley (RGV) of South Texas: a unique spot. Three distinct ecological regions meet: Forest/Woodland; Chihuahua Shrub Land; Herbaceous Grassland.

RGV is a leader in eco-tourism. “Bird and Butterfly Gardens” sprout all over the region. Will it be de-spoiled by fracking and/or LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) production? Not if members of the Sierra Club (SC) and their supporters have anything to say about it. And they do.

Over 25 of the SC from Upper to Lower Valley met recently in Weslaco (South Texas Boulevard) at a hidden treasure, the lovely grounds of La Frontera. The 15 acre Thicket and historic home are maintained by the Frontera Audubon Society. Verdant streams and walkable nature trails await nearby.

Hawks circled overhead as SC environmentalists, young and older, convened. Mr. Jim Chapman, Chair, presided. Vice-chair is Ms. Betty Pérez, Hidalgo County ranch owner dedicated to developing native plants. The Green Party was represented by candidate for Congress, Ms. Vanessa Tijerina. Mr. Joseph Cantus, candidate for Cameron County Commissioner, Precinct 1, received a warm welcome.

Guest speaker was Mr. Sergio Mora with the Rio Grande International Study Center, supported by the Environmental Defense Fund. ISC collaborates with Texas Impact-Texas Interfaith Center for Public Policy. Bi-lingual information is available through

The environmentalists’ main concerns: 1) gas wells within the cities of McAllen and Edinburg; 2) rail cars headed to the Valley, full of highly flammable condensate by LNG export operations; and 3) a plan by Centurion to bring highly flammable condensate from West Texas via oil trains, up to two 120-car trains daily, passing through the cities of Raymondville, Harlingen, San Benito and Olmito, ending up at the Port of Brownsville.

The public has not had full opportunity for explanation or reaction. Cities of Laguna Vista, Port Isabel, South Padre Island and Long Island Village have passed opposing resolutions, but are ignored by Centurion and TransCanada. They and other big companies tout “jobs.”

Environmentalists point out a transitory number of permanent jobs. They predict long-lasting, deleterious effects on the environment (not to mention immediate harm to human health from the smoke stacks and contaminated water) of unchecked LNG encroachment.

The Sierra Club urged attendance and support for the EPA Good Neighbor Environmental Board open meeting, February 11th, 2016, Ringgold Civic Pavilion, in historic Brownsville. These protectors of the environment hope to keep and improve that history and the safety, culture and integrity of the Rio Grande Valley.

Another upcoming event will be a workshop, with power point presentation, in Edinburg for all “Neighbors of Oil and Gas,” sponsored by the ISC. Contact the organizer/speaker, Mr. Sergio Mora, via the above website. The big picture here, covering all these groups and informational meetings, should be entitled “Earth Matters.”