Letters to the Editor for 4-23-2015

Special to the PRESS

To jump to Letter No. 2, click here.
To jump to Letter No. 3, click here.
To jump to Letter No. 4, click here.

What Does It Really Mean to Refine Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) in Our Backyards?

As an advanced pediatric nurse practitioner, I have done my research and conclude that the plan to have five LNG refineries on our national wetlands bordering our Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge was developed by an experienced team focused on speed to market through the Panama Canal to Europe and Asia, not on its impact on our green environment–beautiful beaches and tourism industry, clean air and our health, fishing industry, and our important place on our small planet for birding migration, which attracts thousands of people from all over the world every year.  This plan is not in the best interests of our communities because it will destroy our wetlands, negatively impact our health, increase our gas and electric costs by decreasing our natural gas supplies, and put us at risk for disasters, as well as, a terrorist attack, all for gas export profits with the promise of jobs which are highly exaggerated in order to control the outcome for their personal and stock holders’ gain, not ours!

If this were truly in the interest of the public, then they would not be asking for a 10 year tax break in Brownsville, the poorest city of its size in our nation!  Once erected multi-billion dollar export facilities will be a blight on our presently beautiful coastline for the rest of our lives–decades!  What’s worse, they are saying that natural gas is clean.  If anyone does their research, they will learn that the whole process that these deals support from fracking to exporting are twice as dirty as coal!  As a matter of fact, the pollutants associated with the refining and refrigeration processes that would take place in our backyards after piping the natural gas through people’s properties, even if they object, from the fracking fields to the Port of Brownsville, are the most air polluting processes of all!  They need to shrink the natural gas significantly by freezing it at these proposed refineries for storing and shipping to Europe and Asia. What they don’t want us to know is that the pollutants associated with the refining and refrigeration processes produce millions of tons of serious toxins, including carcinogenic poisons called volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and particulates that will worsen and increase asthma and health care costs.  Nitrogen oxide is another pollutant that will produce smog over our towns and beaches like the big cities many of us came here to escape.  Nitrogen oxide also creates acid rain which will harm our waterways and fish, not just create smog that will cause respiratory problems for pregnant women, infants, children, and the elderly.  If this were in our public interest, why put this so close to our public schools in Port Isabel?  The first of these five leased polluting refineries will exist close to the causeway and two miles from the center of Port Isabel!

This is no time to be apathetic and expect the Texas Commission for Environmental Quality(TCEQ) or the Federal Energy Regulation Commission(FERC) to protect our air or our health.  These agencies have a track record of working for the polluters instead of the people.  We should be outraged and fight these LNG companies with all of our might for the sake of a good and healthy life here at home.  Please do not hesitate to be kept informed and get involved with good people who want to do what is best for our communities by going to the website:  SaveRGVfromLNG.com.

Thank you!

Joanna Ward, MSN, BSN, PNP, RN
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Letter No. 2

The proposed liquefied natural gas plants being planned along the Port of Brownsville Ship Channel would surround the recently restored water inlet from the ship channel to the Bahia Grande, one of the largest wetlands restoration projects in our nation.

In 2000, Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge acquired the 21,700-acre  Bahia Grande

Unit located between Laguna Vista and Brownsville.

In 2005, a pilot channel was constructed that connected the Brownsville Ship Channel to the Bahia Grande. In 2007, two interior channels were cut that reconnected  the larger basin to two smaller interior basins, the Laguna Larga and the Little Laguna Madre. These channels ensure the natural tidal flow and exchange throughout the 10,000 acres of restored wetlands.

More  than 65 groups  known  as the Bahia Grande Restoration  Partnership  collaborated  to restore the degraded wetlands.

In 2007, the Laguna Atascosa Refuge and the 65 collaborating partners were recognized in the   Presidential  Wetlands   Report  and  are  proud  recipients  of  the  National  Wetlands Conservation Award and the Coastal America Partnership Awards.

After so much has been accomplished,  it is disturbing to think so much effort to bring such spectacular results is being threatened by the ongoing negotiations between the Port of Brownsville and these companies  seeking to build LNG plants alongside the ship channel in the very area where the main channel to the Bahia Grande is located.

For absentee LNG owners in Houston, the dollar signs overshadow  the potential damage to the wetlands  and nearby  residential  towns  of Laguna  Vista, Port Isabel  and  South Padre Island.

Please get the facts about this potential travesty at Save RGV from LNG on Facebook.

Rick Teter

Laguna Vista
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Letter No. 3
Dear Editor,

April 22, 1970, marks the 45 year anniversary since Earth Day was established in U.S. and is now celebrated in many other countries.

This is our 4th year celebrating Earth Day in Laguna Vista. Saturday April 25th from 10 a.m. to noon at Roloff Park in Laguna Vista.

We will have educational booths, games and poetry, refreshments.

We focus on the children and the message is ” Love Your Mother Earth-Ama A Tu Madre Tierra.”

We are fortunate to live so close to so much natural beauty. Water, birds and nice beaches. People young and old appear happy when they are close to the water. This area is a destination for tourism and enjoyment and we must make sure to give a good example.

We all share the same planet and we all can contribute to protect it.

Keep the beaches clean and pick up your trash. Conserve water and make Earth Day every day!

Make sure that our elected officials do their part and tell them to keep toxic elements out of our area.

Yolanda Garza Birdwell

Laguna Vista
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Letter No. 4
Dear Editor;

Taxed enough already!  That is the battle cry of the Tea Party groups, and thousands of others, in the Rio Grande Valley.

The target here is the suddenly introduced Texas Senate Bill No. 2034 that would set up a hospital district in Cameron County by way of laying on another taxing entity.

Thomas Jefferson, one of our county’s great founders had a great deal to say and write about government taxation.  Both State Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr. and State Rep. Eddie Lucio III, local county commissioners and local government leaders would do well to read the Jefferson quote beneath the Port Isabel Tower Clock in front of the civic center.

“A wise and frugal Government which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned.  This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicities.” — Thomas Jefferson.

We have quite enough taxing districts on our real estate tax bill each year.  To now introduce another level of taxation is nothing short of trickery to circumnavigate the more difficult task of adjusting the current budgets to accommodate a new purpose.

Governments at all levels know how difficult it would be to add expensive services at a time when taxes totally are eating up the spendable funds that people need so desperately.

There are other solutions.  Hospitals could set up neighborhood clinics staffed with PAs who could handle all but the most serious emergencies.

County, state and national politicians could work toward a Constitutional Amendment that would get rid of the “anchor baby” entitlement so clearly misused today.

All governments could start requiring proof of citizenship before extending any privileges to anyone.  If that, alone, were done, there would be a giant sucking sound of illegals heading for our borders to return home.

Beyond the taxing problem are two others:  1) Introducing the law of “eminent domain” to take property at will from the citizen; 2) Allowing a group of appointed individuals the power of life and death over the citizens by taxing more than they can bear.

If you haven’t figured it out, the maximum tax of 25 cents each $100 of assessed valuation would add $250 to the tax on a $100,000 home; $500 to the tax on a $200,000 home and so on.

Thankfully, we have the right to stop this bill from ever hurting us by voting it down at a future election.  It must be done!

-Duane Rasmussen

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