Today, 136 organizations sent a letter to President Biden in response to the June 8 explosion at the Freeport LNG export facility, expressing continued concern with expanded gas exports and calling for immediate action to protect nearby communities.
Close to 20 new and expanded export facilities are currently proposed to liquefy and ship methane gas from the Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana to foreign markets. If built, these projects would lock in fossil fuel production for decades and exacerbate harm to Gulf Coast communities already facing disproportionate rates of industrial pollution from the fossil fuel industry and the impacts of extreme weather driven by climate change. The letter comes at a critical time, as some of these export facility expansions are under construction and energy costs are soaring due to expanded exports of gas. Freeport LNG, already the fourth largest export facility in the country, has plans to expand its export capacity even further.
The letter, signed by groups working in the Gulf Coast region, as well as national environmental and Indigenous rights groups representing millions of members and supporters, calls on the administration to halt the approval of the Freeport LNG expansion and other export facility projects until inspections are completed and risks are evaluated to prevent similar disasters from happening again; work with state and local authorities to ensure the community surrounding the Freeport LNG facility receives transparency about the environmental and health impacts of the explosion; and direct DOE to find gas exports not in the public interest due to their climate and safety repercussions and to stop approving new applications.
“The explosion serves as a reminder of the growing adverse public health impacts and economic instability resulting from liquefied natural gas (LNG) production and exports and their burdens on frontline and environmental justice communities,” wrote the groups. “If not curtailed, building new and expanded LNG infrastructure and export terminals will only further raise domestic energy prices, exacerbate the most severe climate impacts, and perpetuate injustices the fossil fuel industry has inflicted on low-income communities and communities of color.”
“We’ve been afraid of a disaster happening ever since Freeport LNG started exporting gas. We shouldn’t have to live in fear just so gas executives can get rich,” said Melanie Oldham, a Freeport resident and a founder of Citizens for Clean Air and Clean Water in Brazoria County. “This is dangerous business. We urge the Biden administration to take our concerns about these polluting facilities seriously and take action to make sure the next disaster isn’t even worse.”