Special to the PRESS
I have learned this day of the tragic passing of Elizabeth Sweeten. “Liz” was at first to me a reporter that covered the Port starting in the early 80’s and then became a dear friend. Liz always maintained her professional responsibility. She reported the Port’s happenings good or bad with the hair on it. I understood the dynamics of our relationship and respected her deeply for her integrity. She served the community for decades and served it well.
She was fascinatingly quirky at times but had a deep and abiding core sense of right and wrong. She wrote the truth as she saw it and was fierce in her defense of what she felt was right and true.
As an independent and opinionated woman in a male dominated or better described “hyper” machismo community that is Port Isabel, life was always difficult for “Liz.” Thankfully she lived on or near an island that embraces the value of independence in a woman. In fact, your Laguna Madre is blessed with a cadre of them. You know who they are. Cherish them as I cherished Liz.
Rest in Peace,
As a native and current resident of the valley, I’ve been closely following the Rio Grande LNG project with great interest. The proposed multi-billion dollar liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, that will create plenty of direct and indirect jobs in the valley for years to come, has received another favorable report that moves the project closer to final permitting and construction.
This lengthy and extensive process has over a dozen regulatory agencies that are involved in detailed reviews covering everything from the environment and safety to economic impacts and socioeconomics. The final permit will come from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which reviews reports and oversees the entire permitting process.
Most recently, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) determined that the LNG export terminal and associated pipeline would meet or exceed state and federal air quality standards, and confirmed that there would be no significant air quality impacts or adverse health effects. I was relieved to hear this news since this was my main concern as a local resident and outdoor enthusiast.
The U.S. Coast Guard recently filed a letter of recommendation, stating that the Brownsville Ship Channel was suitable for LNG ship traffic. This letter was based on a Coast Guard study that included safety and security, ship traffic, infrastructure and much more.
Their recommendation also took into account the results of an independent study regarding the potential risks of both SpaceX and Rio Grande LNG operating in Cameron County, requested by FERC, concluded that there was “insignificant risk.”
These studies are important because they confirm that Rio Grande LNG can and will operate safely, reliably and in environmental compliance. Completion of these studies brings this proposed project and its enormous economic benefits closer to reality.
As a professional and business owner with experience in oil field services, energy related imports & exports and construction, I’ve witnessed first-hand the economic benefits and opportunities these projects have on their communities. And the rigorous safety standards and environmental oversight associated with the energy industry is something I certainly feel safe and comfortable with being a part of my community.
Texas is incredibly fortunate to be at the epicenter of the oil and gas industry and to benefit from this enormous economic engine. I’ve seen how this industry has had a positive effect on friends, families and communities, like Corpus Christi, and now it’s time for Brownsville to have its share.
The Rio Grande LNG project in Cameron County is full of potential for families, students, businesses, job-seekers and entrepreneurs. I urge this community to take advantage of this opportunity for social and economic growth, and an improved quality of life for generations to come.
Jim Griffin, Jr.
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