Special to the PRESS
LNGs trying to Usurp the Treasures of the Laguna Madre& Local Residents
Since the LNGs have arrived on the public scene this past year, after two years of Secret Negotiations with the Port of Brownsville to lease property on the ship channel, they have continuously spread Lies about the Negative Consequences their LNG plants will cause to the local areas of the Laguna Madre and the nearby residents of South Padre Island, Port Isabel and Laguna Vista.
The LNGs come saying they will bring jobs, but at what cost to the existing, local tax-paying jobs?
We, the people of South Padre Island, Port Isabel and Laguna Vista are being left at risk of losing hundreds of green jobs due to the construction of these polluting behemoths. Our green jobs are the envy of all the other ports along the Texas coast which have been turned into brown fields with other petrochemical refineries.
The Rio Grande Valley (RGV) is composed of four counties; Cameron, Hidalgo, Willacy and Starr. There are about 1.3 million people living in the RGV. The total population of South Padre Island, Port Isabel, and Laguna Vista is about 11,000. This is less than 1 percent of the RGV total. However, this 1 percent lives in the closest proximity to the proposed LNG plants, and as such, have the most to lose, including their traditional way of life in the Laguna Madre.
The four RGV counties encompass about 4,872 square miles of area. The wildlife refuges in the RGV encompass about 312 square miles of area, with the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge (LANWR) accounting for about one-half of that total. The three towns of South Padre Island, Port Isabel and Laguna Vista are surrounded by the LANWR, which is one of the factors for the near pristine conditions we currently enjoy in the Laguna Madre area. All of the wildlife areas in the RGV are only about 6 percent of the total area of the RGV.
So, how convenient for the LNGs and local county and state politicians to be able to say that no harm will come to the RGV, as a whole. But what about those of us who live and work in the Laguna Madre?
We are not really being factored into the equation since we are such a small part of the overall RGV. This is where we get our saying, “the Laguna Madre is Not a Sacrifice Zone!” Secret back-room negotiations have been ongoing for 2-3 years between the Port of Brownsville and the LNGs. The local populace was only alerted to the impending disaster this year when the LNGs began filing for their permits to build their plants with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) this past March and April.
Since then, the LNGs have repeatedly asked for tax-abatements to build in the local area and have repeatedly been turned down. We, the people, do not want the LNGs to destroy the way of life in the Laguna Madre.
The county and state politicians have signed off as wanting the LNG jobs, no matter the cost to those of us who live here in the Laguna Madre. Primarily because they can truthfully say they are talking for and representing the majority of the RGV. When we review the population and area of the RGV, we can see the Laguna Madre is a very small percentage of the overall RGV population and area.
However, the natural treasures of the Laguna Madre provided to everyone living in the RGV are endangered by the construction of any of these LNG plants along the ship channel. Building next door to the LANWR and only two miles from Port Isabel is a classic case of chicanery; tell the other 99 percent of the RGV what they want to hear and do not worry about the local 1 percent who live nearby. This 1 percent have become the guardians of the Laguna Madre and we must fight back against the lies of the LNGs and preserve our Green Gem of the Texas coast.
Rick Teter, Laguna Vista
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