FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: September 21, 2023
Press Contact: Grace Nolan, firstname.lastname@example.org
FERC Rubber Stamps LNG Facilities As Frontline Environmental & Community Leaders Call On FERC & the Biden Administration to Stop the LNG Buildout
FERC Approved the Expansion of Dangerous LNG Projects in Texas and Louisiana Despite Widespread Opposition Over Environmental, Climate, and Economic Impacts
(WASHINGTON, DC) — Today, over 25 frontline community leaders from across the Gulf South and West Texas hosted a press conference and rally ahead of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) Open Meeting to call for a stop to the permitting of LNG export facilities in their communities. Participating groups have a simple message to FERC and the Biden administration: “We Are Not Sacrifice Zones.”
FERC commissioners approved several LNG projects today – including an expansion to Port Arthur LNG and an uprate amendment for Calcasieu Pass LNG.
Port Arthur LNG will be a massive expansion of existing operations that will allow the company to export up to the equivalent of 698 billion cubic feet of natural gas per year for nearly 30 years. Sempra Energy – the company behind Port Arthur LNG – has already refused to use equipment that would reduce its pollution by 40%.
Venture Global will now increase the peak capacity of its Calcasieu Pass LNG. Venture Global has demonstrated it cannot operate the facility within the limits of its current Louisiana DEQ air permit – racking up over 2,000 air permit deviations and violating its permit on 286 of the first 343 days it was in operation.
Today’s LNG export projects are the latest among many others that have faced widespread opposition due to the climate, environmental justice, and economic impacts. FERC and the Biden Administration received immense pressure and criticism from local advocates, environmental groups, and members of Congress for their approvals of the Alaska LNG project and the Rio Grande Texas LNG project.
U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley offered words of support to the frontline leaders:
“Since it fails to meaningfully consider climate chaos, FERC’s process for determining whether fossil gas projects are in the public interest is fundamentally broken. It’s impossible to come to any other conclusion when the Commission has approved 423 of 425 fossil gas projects that have come before it, continuing to rubber stamp projects while the world burns,” said Senator Merkley who earlier this year led colleagues in a bicameral letter urging for greater scrutiny on the supply chain of LNG. “FERC needs to create final guidance that acknowledges that climate chaos is not in the public interest and that building up LNG infrastructure dramatically accelerates the climate crisis.”
Participating communities are part of Frontlines to FERC – a campaign focused on stopping the buildout of LNG export facilities – and include Another Gulf is Possible/South Texas Environmental Justice Network, Port Arthur Community Action Network (PACAN), Rise St. James, the Vessel Project of Louisiana, For a Better Bayou, Carrizo/Comecrudo Tribe of Texas, Chispa TX, and Better Brazoria. Frontline leaders traveled from their communities to New York City for this past week’s climate week, and now to Washington, DC.
Below are quotes from the press conference:
“The seas are rising because of climate change, but so are we,” said John Beard, CEO of the Port Arthur Community Action Network. “And we’re here to stand and rise up, and push back, not accept no for an answer, not accept the continuance of the continued approval of these various projects that are harming our world.”
“How can we continue to put money over people?” asked James Hiatt, For a Better Bayou. “There’s no reason to continue to allow corporations to profit and to let the federal government work on behalf of the corporations and not the people.”
“I have no faith in FERC. They will continue to approve and hand out permits as long as President Biden sits his cowardly-self in office and does not declare a climate emergency,” said Roishetta Ozane, Founder of the Vessel Project. “FERC can only do what the president allows them to do. He’s hiding behind FERC. But if he declares a climate emergency and ends all new fossil fuel infrastructure, FERC will not be able to issue any more permits.”
“I’m from St. James, Louisiana, and I live in the heart of Cancer Alley. How would you like your home to be called Cancer Alley?” said Sharon Lavigne, Rise St. James. “What do we have to do to get these people to listen to us and stop polluting us? Stop making us sick? How many more people have to die because of these industries, because of our politicians? I pray God lets me live to see these industries that poison us be shut down.”
“These huge facilities are destroying entire ecosystems and economies in terms of fishing and shrimping, all for another economy – a short-term economy, a fossil fuel economy that’s destroying everything around us. We’re here to bring all voices together so that we can raise them up and try to get FERC to understand this cannot continue. We cannot expand this export of fossil fuels,” said Jennifer Hilliard of Ingleside on the Bay Coastal Watch Association.
“They are destroying the water, the air and the land, and us as human beings it is our right to have those,” said Christa Mancias from the Carrizo/Comecrudo Tribe of South Texas. “To live and breathe, and drink clean water, to eat good food without being poisoned, and poisoning our bodies and poisoning our children’s bodies. It is our human right on this earth to be able to have those things.”
“President Biden lied to every single community on the Gulf Coast. We voted for him,” said Manning Rollerson, resident of Freeport, Texas. “We stand here to speak for our children and our grandchildren, so they have a better future. And to FERC, stop pacifying us, stop lying to us. Do your job and protect the citizens. Your oath was to do no harm, but you know that harm is done.”
“We are sick and tired. I am sick and tired of Joe Biden, FERC, and this administration that constantly lies to us,” said Gwendolyn Jones, Better Brazoria. “Biden, I can’t breathe. DOE, I can’t breathe. FERC, I can’t breathe. Democratic Party, I can’t breathe. We can’t breathe because the government is killing us.”
“I want FERC to know that I’m mad, and I’m mad as hell,” said Debra Ramirez, resident of Southwest Louisiana. “I’m going to continue fighting until you apologize to my community, rebuild my community, and give everything that you took away back to us in Louisiana.”
Watch the full live-streamed press conference via WE ACT radio below: