PORT ISABEL, RGV – A mini-demonstration was held at the entrance to the Queen Isabela Causeway in Port Isabel on Saturday in opposition to liquefied natural gas export terminals being built on the Brownsville Ship Channel.
The protest was organized by the Laguna Madre contingent of the grassroots group, Save RGV from LNG.
“We were hoping to hand out pamphlets to people but the police department completely blocked off the side streets so everybody is just whizzing by,” said group member Madeleine Sandefur.
Asked why the group held the event on the 4th of July, when most Rio Grande Valley media outlets have skeleton crews working, Sandefur said:
“We are planning on doing this for the rest of July and part of August. We need to tell more and more people about LNG. So many people do not know about it. We have a very small window because FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, will have scoping meetings, from what we understand, in early August. We want to be prepared for that. We want to have a huge crowd of people there for the scoping meetings. As far as the application process for LNG is concerned, the LNG companies have to show community support. We want to say, whoa, not so fast, you do not have all the community support that you think you do.”
Leaders of the Save RGV from LNG group say they know they are in a David v. Goliath battle because the LNG companies have lots of money to throw around. They point out the companies are hiring top public relations firms and joining local chambers of commerce, such as the one on South Padre Island.
Asked why LNG would be bad for the Valley, Sandefur said: “Let me count the ways. They cause air pollution, degrade our environment and destroy delicate wetlands, increase risks of accidents via explosion or spills, to say nothing of losses in the commercial fishing and the shrimping industry, as well as eco-tourism. We – area residents – take all the risks; they – the LNG companies – gain all the profits.”
Sandefur added that the LNG facilities would be constructed just a couple of miles from the Valley’s top tourist attractions, Port Isabel and South Padre Island.
Asked if there was anything else she would like to add, Sandefur, a resident of Laguna Vista, said: “Thank you for giving us an opportunity to educate the public about these threats to our own little corner of paradise.”
The next Save RGV from LNG regular meeting in Brownsville is scheduled for Monday, July 6 at the Galeria 409 Art Gallery, 409 E 13th Street. It starts at 6 p.m. with an orientation for newcomers. The regular business meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. The group is meeting every two weeks instead of monthly now because of the fast approaching FERC scoping meeting.
Editor’s Note: The Rio Grande Guardian has invited the three companies looking to build LNG terminals at the Port of Brownsville – Texas LNG, Rio Grande LNG, and Annova LNG – to provide information and commentary about their projects. We will include this in future stories as soon as we get it.