Most of the U.S.’s authorized liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminals are located in south Texas near the Gulf of Mexico. It’s an excellent vantage point though which exports can be directed once the facilities are up and running in the next few years.
Five corporations have all zeroed in on the same spot this year. Texas LNG, Annova LNG, Next Decade LNG, Gulf Coast LNG, and Sideco LNG all want to construct export terminals in Brownsville, off the coast of South Padre Island.
This town already has a port for LNG imports and a channel for the deliveries to go through. However, they also cater to a fragile ecosystem of dolphins, shrimp, and fishing tourists which would be disrupted by five different companies building and exporting off their coast.
Opposing the new facilities is Roseann Lerma, who argues that these facilities would “create a wasteland” of the natural habitats and “have a detrimental impact” on the tourist trade in the area.
The Texas Shrimp Association is also against the corporations’ use of the waters due to their path going through the shrimp basin, where about 17 million pounds of Texas’s total 50 million pounds of shrimp are caught annually.
In support of the new business in the area is State Representative Rene O. Oliveira. She has already written to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), with assurances that the new export terminals have “strong support from the local community and its leaders.”
Economically, it would seem to make sense for many to want the terminals in town. Not only would they be paying taxes on the land, but they’d be paying into the infrastructure of the city—at least two corporations’ facilities would be plugged into the Texas power grid.
With such support behind them, companies are already estimating production by 2020.
Only time will tell which side is more persuasive: economy or environment.
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