Rebekah Staub, Permian-Gulf Communications Manager, email@example.com
AUSTIN, Texas — Texas frontline leaders today delivered a message to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg at the Texas Tribune Festival: deny new fossil fuel export facilities in the Gulf Coast. Secretary Buttigieg, whose keynote kicked off the event, has the authority to reject six pending applications for offshore oil and gas export facilities that would harm the health of residents, increase energy costs, and make climate change worse.
“Where I live on the coast, we have so much industry, and now they are proposing to build not one but two oil export projects,” said Melanie Oldham, Freeport resident and president of Citizens for Clean Air and Water in Brazoria County, said during the event. “This is not good for our community. It’s not good for the United States. These oil projects are not needed.”
The proposed facilities are almost exclusively concentrated along the Louisiana and Texas coast—where refineries and petrochemical plants have been disproportionately located in low income communities, communities of color, and on Indigenous lands for decades. This includes the application for Sea Port Oil Terminal (SPOT), an oil export terminal proposed in Brazoria and Harris counties that would export 2 million barrels of domestic crude oil per day for global markets via Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs).
The same Gulf Coast communities overburdened by the fossil fuel industry are also the increasingly frequent victims of climate change-induced natural disasters, which is caused by the emissions from fossil fuel production and use. The Biden administration’s ongoing disregard for the disproportionate impacts of gas exports have led Gulf Coast residents to increase calls to stop new and expanded gas export terminals.
Gwendolyn Jones, East End resident with generational ties to Brazoria County said:
“In the community I live in, there have been people that have died from cancer, have respiratory problems, and all kinds of issues due to the plants. You see family members suffer and die because of toxic chemicals. You cannot drink the water from the water faucet, the soil is contaminated, and they still want more.”
Sue Page, retired Surfside Beach resident said:
“I have the cutest little nine-year-old grandchild. She deserves to have a clean environment, clean air, clean water, clean beaches. She deserves that. Her prosperity deserves to have that. There is no way you can have one hundred miles of pipeline and not have some sort of leak. I can’t believe that these companies believe that that’s going to happen, that they are going to be safe. So I am asking: please, Pete. Please, everyone. We do not need another terminal. We do not need another gas pipeline.”
Frankie Orona with the Society of Native Nations said:
“We don’t need any more extraction, we don’t need anymore exports. If we want to have a sustainable future for our children and our children’s children, we need to act today. We need to act now. We need to transition to a sustainable future.”
Naomi Yoder, staff scientist at Healthy Gulf said:
“In April of this year New Fortress Energy applied to install a floating LNG export terminal off the coast of Louisiana. They will be using repurposed jack up rigs, drilling rigs, and drilling vessels. This sounds like a safety nightmare to me, and in fact it is. LNG terminals are the site of enormous amounts of explosive gasses. It’s an explosion waiting to happen on a catastrophic scale. Why would we be using outdated equipment for such a dangerous installation? New Fortress seems to be avoiding the reality that storing large amounts of explosives is dangerous for everyone involved, and the environment. This project is unstable, unnecessary, and Secretary Buttigieg has the power to stop it, alongside all of these other projects.”
Chloe Torres, Corpus Christi resident who is organizing with Texas Campaign for the Environment Fund said:
“Climate crises are not twenty years away. They are happening now. The climate crisis is going to affect everyone we love, and we are trying to stop the worst of it before it comes here and affects all of us. It is not just my future, it is not just the future of these people that you’re fighting for, it’s also your future and your loved one’s future. We can’t wait anymore.”
Joanie Steinhaus, Galveston resident and Gulf Program at Turtle Island Restoration Network said:
“I live it. I breathe it. I fight for the ocean day. Because it matters. The ocean gives us life. I hope you will stop and think about it, and stop these exports. We don’t need them. They’re going to other countries. Stop SPOT.”