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May 12 2017

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Letters to the Editor for May 11, 2017

Special to the PRESS

Dear Editor,

I thought some other folks might respond to a couple of reactionary letters two weeks ago, but there were no letters to the editor in last week’s issue of the paper, so I’ll respond. Debi Chamberlin’s letter trying to defend the Laguna Vista Recreational Association’s (LVRA) control of all our Laguna Madre access can be dismissed rather easily. She admits that she was not at the workshop pertaining to the LVRA and the Town’s idea to establish a little park on one-fifth of the property. She implies that the LVRA would build more amenities, such as a fishing pier, if they had more members and more money. They have had almost half a century to do so and have not done it. Both at the workshop and a meeting to meet the candidates for the town council I raised the issue of a pier and no representatives of the LVRA said that they ever had any intentions of build a pier. I have no idea why Ms. Chamberlin thinks that our little park would be a marina. A marina includes a boat ramp to launch a boat off a trailer. There are ways to make the little park for the use of Laguna Vista residents. For all I know, members of the LVRA may loan their keys to friends to launch their boats. We have covered all this ground before and there is no need to spend a lot of time on it.

Duane Rasmussen’s letter is another story. I remember when he was trying to establish a Tea Party chapter in our area and failed. Now he has come back like a zombie. I am pretty sure that Filemon Vela could kick Trump’s fat butt anytime. Illegal aliens are not the people coming to shop and hordes of illegal aliens voting is a myth. Republicans don’t win anything down here when they have to run on a party affiliation. I’m sure that they win a lot of local elections when they run on a non partisan basis. The only real voter fraud in the USA and Texas is Republicans making it difficult for people to vote. It does not make any difference if Rasmussen has lived in or visited the Rio Grande Valley for 100 years; he supports Trump and his agenda so he has no understanding of politics. The best way to deal with Trump and his so-called “presidency” is to smash it along with his agenda. It is long past time to abolish the Electoral College.

This is a good time to talk about Greg Abbott and his support of Trump’s agenda by passing SB4. SB4 states that law enforcement officers can ask anyone they stop for any or no reason about their immigration status. I have had nothing but contempt for Abbott ever since that tree fell on him in Houston and he got a settlement for around $23 million. After he got his money he became a big advocate for tort reform. All the law enforcement officers in any Texas city of any size oppose SB4. I hope those in the Rio Grande Valley follow their example. The best way to deal with Trump’s laws and the Texas state laws like SB4 is to look back through history. The best way to get rid of bad laws is to get as many people as possible to break them until they become unenforceable. The Abolitionist Movement, the Labor Movement, and the Civil Rights movement are all examples of how effective this process is. Hopefully, those of us who are alive today are as courageous as those who preceded us in the USA.

Walter Birdwell
Laguna Vista


Dear Editor,

How Safe Would It Really Be Living near LNG Export Terminals?

According to the most recent news, not nearly as safe as one might think!  Actually, it is not as safe as the BC Government and others benefiting from the industry have claimed.   As a matter of fact, new studies and past incidents raise questions about location standards and safety!  It was not a pretty picture after the explosion of an LNG storage site in Plymouth, Washington in 2014!  The public has very good reason to be concerned about transporting, processing, and storing large quantities of this known “hazardous liquid” near where we live, work, raise our families, fish, and swim!!!!

The explosion in Washington, along with alarming research out of Britain regarding what scientists call “vapor cloud explosions” which is the release of flammable gases into the atmosphere, has brought forth new doubts regarding the adequacy of safety regulations for allowing LNG export terminals in North America!  It makes me wonder where our strong winds might take one of those vapor clouds before it exploded around one of our communities!  A known expert on catastrophic releases of hazardous materials, Jerry Havens who is a chemical engineer at the University of Arkansas, believes that we need a better method for regulating LNG export terminal hazards to the public.  He also has stated that current standards do not provide adequate fire and explosion exclusion zones to protect the public!

The U. S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration agency in charge of LNG on-land terminal regulations has begun a complete review of its rules for placing LNG terminals!  Hopefully these will be completed and adhered to before the Federal Energy Regulation Commission (FERC) grants anymore LNG Export facilities permits within a two mile radius of towns like Port Isabel!

What is increasingly concerning experts is called “rollover” which is the rapid release of LNG vapor that can occur as a result of the spontaneous mixing of layers of different densities in a storage tank like the many planned near Port Isabel!  The catastrophic explosion in Plymouth, Washington evacuated a town like Port Isabel for a couple of days.  That explosion injured but, did not kill anyone the way previous ones did, including the incineration of 128 citizens in a fiery methane cloud in Cleveland in 1944.  Since then ships and terminals have increased in size 10 times!  Yet, regulatory guidelines have not been reviewed or updated!  More recently LNG terminals have had more than a dozen serious accidents and explosions, including an explosion at an LNG terminal in Algeria where a large volume of liquid gas escaped from a pipe and formed a cloud of highly flammable and explosive vapor that hovered over the facility.  The blast broke windows more than a mile away and killed 27 workers and injured another 80!  There was also a billion dollars worth of damage with the destruction of half the facility.  Havens thinks LNG export terminals with its wide variety of explosive gases heavier than methane are vulnerable to catastrophic events resulting in heavy civilian and worker casualties and massive damage. 

A new study just came out last year by the U. K. Health and Safety Executive, an agency devoted to reducing work-related injuries that supported Havens’ concerns about the transport and storage of energy fuels like LNG and the very real possibilities of them creating catastrophic outcomes in nearby communities like ours!   What’s more, after the terrorist attack on 9/11, experts recognized the terrible vulnerability of LNG tankers and storage facilities.  They say that such an attack would cause greater spills than ever studied by LNG researchers.  Yet the political and industrial world are closely connected in our era.  The industrial money has the power to rule today, not for the people.  Those in the way of the developing billionaires are collateral damage.  We all need to be concerned because Pruitt’s EPA wants to delay protections from chemical disasters and put life-saving rules on hold!  This is unacceptable but; the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently accepting public comments on the proposed delay.

Joanna Ward, MSN, BSN, PNP, RN
Laguna Vista

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.portisabelsouthpadre.com/2017/05/12/letters-to-the-editor-for-may-11-2017/

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