As a resident of Laguna Vista, I have been following the events concerning the proposed construction of three liquefied natural gas plants in the Brownsville ship channel.
Upon learning that the Brownsville Navigation District (BND) is having an election of three of its five BND commissioners on May 7, 2016, I decided to file an application for a place on the ballot by February 19, 2016.
Imagine my surprise to learn that South Padre Island, Port Isabel, and Laguna Vista are NOT included in the BND. Therefore, I cannot file for a place on the ballot to oppose any of the incumbents.
As guardians of the Laguna Madre, none of the current BND commissioners has shown any interest in keeping the proposed LNGs out of the Brownsville ship channel.
However, the city and town councils of South Padre Island, Port Isabel, Laguna Vista, the Port Isabel school district, the Laguna Madre water supply, the SPI Business Owners Association, and others in this area have firmly rejected any attempts to allow LNGs to be our nearby neighbors.
So, it seems the few of us who live and work here in the Laguna Madre and will have the most to lose, in both our health and clean ecotourism jobs if these LNGs are built, are effectively denied any chance at representing our views about our potential neighbors along the ship channel.
This seems odd to me since this area has less than three percent of the population of Cameron county, yet it provides almost 50 percent of the property tax revenues. It seems we should be trying to preserve the goose who lays the golden eggs, not destroy the eco-friendly tax paying entities who currently populate the Laguna Madre.
As many in the RGV realize, the vacation destination of SPI makes for many high dollar properties there. Plus, we have numerous, varied, clean ecotourism companies and jobs to provide a sustainable Green future, along with solar and wind turbines.
LNGs use fossil fuels (natural gas) to process and ship overseas, leaving the toxic pollution in the air and water around the proposed sites.
If only one LNG plant is built, it will emit more greenhouse gases (GHGs) than all of the cars, trucks, and farm equipment in Cameron county combined. The proposed LNG plants are less than three miles behind HEB and Walmart in Port Isabel, plus they are even closer to Port Isabel High School. So, this huge amount of toxic pollution will rain down upon us on a daily basis.
That is why we, the guardians of the Laguna Madre, having been fighting so strongly against the LNGs! I urge everyone in Cameron County and the RGV to come to the rescue of the people and wildlife and birds who currently live here and want to preserve our shrinking habitat for future generations.
Pope Francis, plus the Paris Climate talks, plus the EPA restrictions on fossil fuels, all tell us to leave the fossil fuels in the ground. Go with the renewables, solar and wind. We can do that. We already have wind turbines and solar panels creating jobs and electricity in and for Cameron County residents.
We do not need and definitely do not want any LNGs to destroy our precious Laguna Madre ecosystems and ecofriendly jobs.
I regret that I am unable to run for BND commissioner, as I would have liked to discuss this topic in more depth with everyone in the Rio Grande Valley. So, this will have to suffice.
Go to saveRGVfromLNG on Facebook for more current information.
Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying this guest column shows the NO LNG group at the start of the SPI Causeway Run/Walk.