LNG companies gain FERC approval

A rendering of the proposed Rio Grande LNG plant located on the Port of Brownsville.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission gave its approval today to several companies planning to build liquefied natural gas export facilities at the Port of Brownsville.

Texas LNG, Annova LNG and NextDecade Corp., which calls its facility Rio Grande LNG, were given permission for proposed export terminals. If all three are built it would represent a combined investment of $38.7 billion at the port.

The Sierra Club is one of several organizations that has opposed the plants.

“It’s disappointing that FERC failed to recognize that these proposed fracked gas facilities would be a disaster for the Rio Grande Valley, but today’s approval is far from the end of the fight,” said Sierra Club Brownsville Organizer Rebekah Hinojosa. “Our communities are united in opposition to these dirty, dangerous projects, and we will continue to pursue all avenues – from the courts to pressuring financial institutions – to ensure they are never built.”

The agency says all three projects still require approval from the Army Corps of Engineers, Texas LNG is still awaiting a biological opinion from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and neither Texas LNG nor Annova LNG have been granted air pollution permits from state regulators.

The non-profit environmental advocacy group Save RGV are having a press conference at 5 p.m. today at the Port Isabel Events and Cultural Center, 309 Railroad Ave. in Port Isabel to respond to today’s decision by FERC.

“People drive down from all over Texas and the United States to come to the beach at South Padre Island because we offer a pristine coast line and clean air that’s not polluted by the petrochemical industry the way it is in Galveston and Corpus Christi,” said Maria Galaso, a Laguna Vista resident who serves on the Save RGV board. “If we lose that, we lose the linchpin of our beach tourism, nature tourism and real estate market.”