By Gaige Davila
Annova LNG, one of three liquified natural gas export plant projects slated for the Port of Brownsville, has suspended the project, the company announced this past Monday.
“Due to changes in the LNG market, Annova LNG has announced the immediate discontinuation of its liquified natural gas export facility under development in Brownsville, Texas,” a press release announcing the project’s end read.
The plant, which had not started construction, would have channelled 6.5 million tons of LNG per year, according to Annova LNG’s website, from Agua Dulce, Texas, transporting it across the world.
The export plant project received unified resistance from Laguna Madre cities, environmental advocacy groups and citizens alike, because of its location on wildlife reserves and the air pollutants it was expected to project.
“Today’s victory is the result of six years of tireless efforts of the Rio Grande Valley communities in South Texas who have written comments, attended hearings, protested banks, and more to protect their health, their precious coastline and the climate from Annova LNG’s proposed fracked gas project,” said Sierra Club Gulf Coast Campaign representative Bekah Hinojosa. “No LNG export terminal has any place in our communities or our energy future, and today’s news is a step in the right direction to putting an end to exporting fracked gas across the world.”
The project sites for Annova LNG, and Rio Grande LNG, occupy more than 1,300 acres within the South Texas Ocelot Coastal Corridor. In a previous report by the PRESS, Anova LNG spokesperson Beth Archer said Annova LNG worked with the U.S. Fish and WIldlife Service to save 1,000 acres of ocelot habitat, planning to add 250 more acres in the future. Archer did not disclose how Annova conserved the acreage or planned to add more.
In their biological opinion of the project, USFWS said several times that Annova LNG and Rio Grande LNG would “adversely” affect the area’s ocelot population, destroying 262.4 acres of “preferred ocelot habitat,” and another 189.1 of “suitable habitat.”
“Annova LNG’s decision to shelve construction of this facility is good news for ocelots and the other unique wildlife that call this extraordinary region home,” Defenders of Wildlife Texas representative Sharon Wilcox, Ph.D, told the PRESS. “This area is particularly important to the long-term success for conserving and protecting the Texas ocelot. Defenders of Wildlife is committed to protecting the remaining native habitat in the South Texas Ocelot Coastal Corridor from the growing pressure of development in this area.”
Annova LNG had not secured any contracts with oil and gas firms, but had received several permits necessary to construct the facility: including a Texas Commision on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) air permit just this month; a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) non-FTA export permit; a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission authorization; and a biological opinion from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Annova LNG signed a 30-year lease agreement with the Port of Brownsville last March, the second of the three LNG projects to secure a lease. Rio Grande LNG entered into a 30-year, 984 acre lease with the Port in March 2019. Texas LNG entered into a 50-year lease with the Port this past December.
Annova LNG’s project suspension is one of several LNG-related projects cancelled in the last year. NextDecade Energy’s—which is also attempting to build an LNG export plant project in the Port of Brownsville—Cork LNG project was effectively cancelled after the Port of Cork announced they would not renew their lease with the company. NextDecade’s Galveston LNG project was also abandoned this year, after finding the site was under Federal Navigation Servitude, meaning they could not construct the project without congressional approval. Last year, many anticipated orders for LNG cargo were cancelled by energy companies like Cheniere Energy, who cancelled around 30 cargoes of LNG from Sabine Pass, Louisiana, and Corpus Christi plants, because of low gas demand.
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