BROWNSVILLE — Annova LNG announced this week that it has filed its application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to seek authorization to build facilities at the Port of Brownsville.
That puts the number at three for proposed liquefied natural gas projects at the port. Annova has joined Rio Grande LNG and Texas LNG, who both filed FERC applications earlier this year.
To address concerns, the three companies invited members of the community to a late night Q&A session Thursday in Brownsville.
The liquefied natural gas companies wanted to re-iterate the economic growth the plants would bring to Cameron County and emphasize that LNG is environmentally friendly.
“This is a really exciting period for the Valley. These projects have the potential to transform (the region) in a very positive way,” said James Markham-Hill, the Rio Grande LNG representative.
The companies promise billions of dollars of investments and, as a result, thousands of indirect permanent jobs and temporary construction jobs and hundreds of permanent jobs on site.
They also assured people in attendance that the hires would be local workers.
“There’s no reason our workforce shouldn’t come from the Valley. We are very fortunate that there is a strong workforce here. And we will be working with the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (and others),” Markham-Hill said.
One concern raised at the meeting was whether the LNG plants would be abandoned the moment something else became more lucrative.
Trey Lewis, the Texas LNG representative, said the contracts would be long-term, which is standard practice in dealings of this magnitude.
“The buyer is usually in a contract for 25 to 30 years,” Lewis said.
Another attendee questioned the environmental effects of the LNG plants on local habitats and their carbon emissions.
Markham-Hill said the gas was non-toxic, non-corrosive, and non-explosive. LNG will evaporate the moment it gets free and has a lower carbon footprint than other fossil fuels.
“I could pour it over my sweet tea and still be able to drink it,” he said. “It’ll just be slightly colder.”
Annova LNG’s proposed site has raised concern among environmentalists, who say the project would cause irreparable damage to an important wildlife corridor critical to the survival of the ocelot.
Maribel Guerrero, the Annova representative, said the company has planned for the ocelot’s safety and will move the plant to accommodate an area for the ocelot to traverse. Annova has also donated to ocelot preservation efforts in the past.
That reassurance may not be enough, however. Rebekah Hinojosa, chapter organizer for the Sierra Club, denounced Annova’s filing yesterday afternoon.
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