Letters to the Editor for Oct. 1, 2015

Special to the PRESS

The Long Island Village Board of Directors have unanimously voted to join Port Isabel, South Padre Island, Point Isabel School District, Laguna Vista and the Laguna Madre Water District in opposing LNG plants being constructed anywhere close to the Brownsville Ship Channel.

Long Island Village is a thriving community of 1,024 tax paying properties located on Long  Island, bordered by the Brownsville Ship Channel and the intracoastal waterway.

Long Island Village residents enjoy fishing, water sports, birding and the natural beauty of our area unencumbered by light of chemical pollutions. Our residents enjoy the beautiful Texas sunsets framed with palm trees and punctuated with tropical birds. Giant LNG plants were never part of our plan.

We believe the construction of LNG plants (one plant would be located less than two miles from our community) will negatively impact our way of life and greatly reduce our property values.

Respectfully,

Long Island Village Board of Directors


 

Dear Mr. Chung,

Last week you made a statement in the Rio Grand Guardian that, “Annova LNG alone would pay nearly $300 million in local taxes over the life of the facility.”

Can you please provide details on the calculation of this number?

To be honest, some of the data Annova specifically affirmed to be “true and correct” in the Chapter 313 application submitted to the State of Texas is not easily reconcilable with other statements put out by Annova.  That said, as Annova is now putting forth a $300 million figure as the amount of local taxes paid over the life of the facility, we respectfully request you provide details on how exactly this figure was calculated in a detailed spreadsheet.

To substantiate a $300 million calculation, such a spreadsheet would need to show at a minimum:

-Estimated taxable value of the facility for each taxing entity for each year of the life of the facility.

-Estimated tax rate for each taxing entity for each year of the life of the facility.

-Details of any tax breaks sought in each year. Specifically, for example, for the county, how many years, and in each year, what percentage abatement is being sought from Cameron County?  For example,  if you are seeking a Local Government Code 381 agreement, can you please provide details on the agreement?

We hope you can provide us such a substantiation of the $300 million figure immediately.

If your company were not seeking taxpayer dollars, this would not be a reasonable or appropriate request.  But as your company is seeking special tax treatment from public entities, we feel it is your responsibility–not simply a matter of respect and courtesy–to transparently share with the public all such calculations that back up your claims.

We hope you feel the same, and look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Stefanie Herweck

Executive Committee

Lower Rio Grande Valley Sierra Club


 

Dear Editor,

Recently an acquaintance mentioned the LNG (Liquified Natural Gas) debate. I admitted that I had been avoiding this battle which seemed to be creating a lot of strife, anger and emotion in our little community. I really knew nothing about it, I told him, but I was under the impression that natural gas was clean. He told me that LNG was extremely dangerous and bad for the environment. Hmmm, sounds scary. Maybe it’s time for me to do a little research, I thought.

I went to my computer and searched “is LNG dangerous.” The Sierra Club said it would leak and pollute our air and water, and hurt our wildlife. No details were given. It was simply stated that it was bad — period. (Ask no questions. Take our word for it.) I moved on and found a website from an attorney in California who works very hard fighting LNG and even made a movie about its dangers. (Source: Timrileylaw.com) At the top of his page was the frightening title “The horrifying history of Liquified Natural Gas” followed by pictures of a devastated landscape and emergency crews working at the largest LNG disaster in history which occurred in Cleveland, Ohio. These pictures look a bit ancient, I thought. I scrolled down to find that this accident, which killed 131 people, happened 71 years ago in 1944!

The website included a list of the entire history of LNG accidents — since that first one in 1944. There were 28 world-wide incidences listed. According to this anti-LNG website, only four of the incidences were fatal. One in 1944, one in 1977, and two in 2004. The death toll in those 71 years has been 213, with 171 deaths taking place in the accidents in 1944 and 1977. The other 41 deaths happened in 2004 — over a decade ago.

Wow! That was not what I expected to find. I don’t think there is an industry on the planet with such a safe record and such a low number of deaths and accidents. Many of the “accidents” on this list were things like “difficulties in the liquid level gauge system.” The vast majority of these accidents caused absolutely no human injury. I decided to continue on with my investigation, wherever it took me. So I read articles and watched YouTube videos both for and against. The “against” articles mostly said, “LNG is extremely dangerous and polluting.”

The “pro” and “neutral” LNG information had an entirely different story. Did you know that LNG is non-toxic and non-corrosive? When it spills on the ground or in the water, it dissipates and leaves no harmful or flammable residue. It is not even flammable in its liquid state. According to one “pro-LNG” quote “the industry has conducted over 33,000 voyages since 1964 covering more than 60 million miles without there ever being a significant spill, loss of cargo, or environmental incident.” (Source: breakingenergy.com)

Insurance rates for shipping LNG is 25% less than that for shipping crude oil. The main reason for that is that insurance companies have to cover environmental damage due to  polluting spills, but dirty spills are non existent in the LNG industry. According to breakingenergy.com: “LNG spills on water do not harm aquatic life or damage waterways in any way.” Another website, total.com, states “It (LNG) is a clean-burning fuel whose combustion generates no unburned residues, particulates or soot, and releases less greenhouse gas than the other fossil fuels.” In other words, it does not pollute the air we breathe.

So according to my research this energy source is clean, non-polluting, non-toxic, doesn’t harm fish, sea life, or wildlife and has an extremely safe track record. I think it’s time for the anti-LNG crowd to come up with some actual statistics to back up their claims because from what I’ve found, LNG looks surprisingly good.

Is LNG right for our area? That, I don’t know. My biggest question would be, “Will the pipelines, storage tanks etc. make our beautiful area look like an industrial zone?” I hope not. But I encourage community members to do their own research. Don’t get caught up in “mob mentality.” Take an honest look at the pros and cons of this energy source. I really had no idea what opinion I would have regarding LNG when I started my research; and I came away completely surprised by the results.

Sincerely,

Faith Ballesteros

South Padre Island

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