Saturday, April 23, 2016
No, it is not a new flavor of ice cream - it is an anagram for Not In My Back Yard.
I am not an activist. We moved to the Tropical Tip of Texas for the lifestyle, the climate, the recreation, and the culture. There are three entities wanting to build Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) processing and exporting ports. Along the Brownsville Ship Channel. Within a couple miles of our home.
What could possibly go wrong with that?
Today, there was an informational meeting in our Rec Center, with information from the Sierra Club, Friends of the Laguna Madre, and a couple others. Granted, this information is being presented by those against the LNG plants. I would stand with those folks.
I registered with FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) to file a motion to intervene. Really, I am not an activist. But, there is so much that can go bad with this.
Safety: our home is less than 2 miles from the nearest proposed plant. Certainly, within the "blast zone" if there is an explosion. 1,000 residences on our island, one bridge to get on/off the island. That bridge depends on electricity to open/close. What do you suppose will happen to the electric grid if there is a problem with these plants? LNG has no smell - if there is a gas escape, it will travel at ground level, creating a possible explosion that will expand horizontally.
Health: being "incinerated" is not good for your health. Not to mention all the by-products that will be produced at these plants: nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, benzene, toluene, greenhouse gases, sulfur dioxide.
Habitat Loss: the proposed area is a wildlife corridor that links a wildlife refuge on the south to another wildlife refuge to the north. This is a corridor for the endangered ocelots. Wetlands will be built up. Fishing will be impacted.
Economic Impact: loss of beach tourism (the biggest employer in this area), loss of nature tourism; over 3,000 jobs in the local shrimping/fishing industry - these will be impacted by the huge LNG ships that will come and go, requiring the ship channel to be closed to other traffic. The potential for local jobs is +/- 200, and most likely the positions will be skilled, thus brought in. Proposed construction is "plug & play" which means large portions will be built overseas, then transported here on barges. Any construction jobs will be temporary.
The LNG companies are looking for tax breaks for locating here - meaning the local taxpayers will be subsidizing these plants. The plants/ports are for exporting natural gas - so it can be sold at higher prices in other countries; this will have a negative impact on gas prices here.
Looking at all the fracking operations north of us that are at a stand-still due to lower oil prices, this is not a stable industry. Many years ago, we lived in Wyoming, and saw the "boom and bust" times with the oil industry there... creating serious issues with local economies.
Security: this would put us in a "target rich" terrorism area. I already mentioned closing the ship channel as the LNG ships come and go. These plants are lit up at night (for security), making light pollution for miles around.
Recreation: we originally bought/built here because of the water access. Our waters here are pretty special - take a look at the "brown water" around Galveston Island, and you can appreciate even more what we have here. The storage tanks at these plants will be 19 stories tall - any spill would be devastating.
The "up-side" seems to be only for those who want to build these export plants.
The local city councils (Port Isabel, South Padre Island, Laguna Vista) are all opposed to the LNG plants. The Point Isabel School District is opposed. Of course, people who own property around here are opposed. The big issue is: most people are not aware of the impacts this will have on the area... or, they don't think "it will affect me." It has the potential to affect those who come to this area for recreation... to enjoy the beaches... to fish... to spend the winters away from the frozen northland... to come to the cooler area along the coast compared to inland.
The Sierra Club and Friends of the Laguna Madre are here to inform. And persuade. It wasn't a huge crowd at the meeting...
It is a quiet time of the year here. This is a "grass roots" movement, though, and I expect the numbers to build as people gain understanding of what this may become.