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Media Contact:

Rebekah Staub, Permian-Gulf Communications Manager, rstaub@earthworks.org

FREEPORT, Texas— Freeport LNG announced that Federal regulators gave the damaged terminal permission to partially restart operations. The news comes as a shock to the community, because at a public meeting held a few weeks ago federal officials announced that not all of the damage from the explosion has been repaired. During the meeting residents expressed their disappointment on how the aftermath of the explosion was handled, and questioned if there was proper oversight of the facility. Residents also called on federal agencies to update the regulations that govern these gas export projects, which haven’t been changed in over 40 years, and were written for import terminals. Notably absent from the meeting were representatives from Freeport LNG.

Following the explosion local leaders and folks from across the Gulf sent a letter to federal regulators demanding a public meeting in Freeport, as well as an update to federal regulations and more public transparency. For months the administration ignored the letter’s recommendations which led to Freeport leaders traveling to DC to hold a press conference in front of FERC hoping to garner more attention to their cause. Although the public meeting was finally held, residents were angry that only 30 minutes were allotted for them to ask questions and express their concerns— which include: 

“If safety and justice are truly a priority for President Biden, LNG should not be part of the picture,” said Chrystal Beasley the Texas Gulf Coast Energy Campaigner at Earthworks. “Reopening this facility without properly listening to the community’s concerns will cause further harm to the Freeport community and is an injustice to the people who live and breathe on the Texas Gulf coast.”

“Why should the people of Freeport feel safe with a company that has not been honest or transparent with the community?” said Freeport resident Gwen Jones. “The CEO, Michael Smith needs to visit Freeport and address our community directly.” 

“LNG is not ready to reopen. We have not even seen any updates of their emergency response plan or alert system. I don’t trust that they will do anything different,” said Freeport resident Manning Rollerson.

“No one from Freeport LNG even bothered to show up to this month’s public meeting and the federal agencies left us with more questions than answers,” said Surfside resident Sue Page. “What we did learn is that Freeport LNG has systemic issues with many past violations. These agencies revealed what little they have done to protect us from the next explosion.”

“PHMSA and FERC have not provided sufficient oversight over the Freeport LNG plant. Even a partial reopening is premature and irresponsible due to many unanswered questions regarding the numerous root causes of the explosion,” said Freeport resident Melanie Oldham. “Complete and consistent oversight and accountability must be provided immediately.”

Accounting for 20% of U.S. export capacity, Freeport’s closure following the explosion proved the link between gas prices and gas exports. And when news broke that Freeport LNG started receiving gas a few weeks ago, gas futures suddenly jumped around 8%. Now that Freeport gas officially reopened, American families should prepare for an increase in methane gas prices.