As part of the pre-filing permitting process for the proposed LNG export terminals, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) held a joint scoping meeting for Annova LNG, Rio Grande LNG, and Texas LNG, on August 11, 2015 at the Port Isabel Event and Cultural Center.

The public was invited to attend and to give comment on the record.

On behalf of the Brownsville Chamber of Commerce, I attended the FERC scoping meeting and provided a statement in support of the LNG industry. The following are excerpts from my statement made at the FERC scoping meeting yesterday:

The three proposed LNG facilities project a combined investment in our community of about $10 billion. This is an unprecedented level of investment in South Texas and will have numerous positive impacts. I am enthusiastic about the economic impact that the proposed LNG export facilities can have on our communities, while connecting the Rio Grande Valley to the global LNG trade. All three LNG companies, Annova LNG, Rio Grande LNG, and Texas LNG are members of the Brownsville Chamber of Commerce and have already demonstrated a willingness to participate in community and Chamber events. We appreciate their support and commitment to our community.

We have seen widespread community support for these three projects. These projects will have numerous positive impacts including the creation of high paying jobs; promotion of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education; and adding tens of millions of dollars to local taxing districts. Each LNG facility, if built today, would be by far the largest taxpayer in Cameron County.

We have also learned about the rigorous regulatory process. Any LNG company which receives a permit from FERC will be safe and in compliance with all federal regulations. It appears that the three LNG companies are working to minimize environmental impacts.  For example, one of the LNGs is using electric motors to drive its refrigeration unit, which reduces air emissions and it has also reconfigured their plant to minimize wetland impact. Another LNG facility is collaborating with city leaders to mitigate the impact of the LNG industry workforce on current and future transportation and mobility needs. All three have invested themselves in our community.

In conclusion, I want to reiterate the importance of these three projects to our South Texas community and thank the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for hosting this event. If I can ever be of service to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Editor’s Note: The above op-ed from Melinda Rodriguez was first sent out to Brownsville Chamber of Commerce members and supporters via a Chamber newsletter.