Monday, April 18, 2016

Los Fresnos Chamber of Commerce Guru Betrays Ignorance of LNG Plant Dangers

Jim Barton,  publisher of  the
Brownsville Observer
Proponents of the LNG plants, proposed to junk up our region from the Port of Brownsville to the city limits of Port Isabel, frequently remind us of the "clean-burning" nature of natural gas, as if an LNG plant is similar to Tia Lopez warming a tortilla on her two-burner stove.  

Val Champion, Executive Director of the Los Fresnos Chamber of Commerce, stops just short of that portrayal in his April 18, 2016 "Letter to the Editor" to the Brownsville Herald, but still misses the whole rationale for LNG plant opposition by the Laguna Madre Water District, the Surfrider Foundation, the South Padre Island Economic Development Corporation(failed to endorse LNG), Texas Parks & Wildlife, the Port Isabel City Commission, the South Padre Island Business Owner's Association, Sea Turtle, the Laguna Vista City Council, the South Padre Island City Commission, the RGV Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, as well as several chapters of the Sierra Club.

Val Champion, Executive Director of Los Fresnos
Chamber of Commerce
None of the above mentioned groups are concerned about natural gas burning cleanly. They may not even disagree with Val Champion's description of liquefied natural gas as "colorless, odorless, non-flammable, non-toxic, non-explosive and non-corrosive" and generally safe to transport.

2004 Explosion at Algerian LNG Plant Kills 26
But, Val and other would-be short-term profiteers, it is not the normal burning of natural gas or the transport of liquefied natural gas that presents environmental danger.  It is the PROCESS of converting natural gas to a liquid for transport, requiring a HUGE processing plant, ENORMOUS energy usage and HUGE dispersion of hot liquid and chemicals into the atmosphere that LNG opponents fear.

The financial reward of reducing natural gas to 1/600th of its volume, subsequently into liquid form is understandable.  It corresponds to using one transport ship instead of 600.  That savings alone makes the  process economically viable, especially if the market price of natural gas is relatively high.  Imagine shipping 600 hundred packages for the normal price of shipping one package.  

Yet, liquefying natural gas is a dirty and unsightly enterprise. At the Port of Brownsville, the proposed LNG facilities would dump millions of gallons of heated effluent each day into one of the healthiest shallow-water bays in the world. The plants’ 500-foot flaring towers—which release mercury, hydrogen sulfide, helium, carbon dioxide, hydrocarbons and other impurities from the natural gas—would burn a couple of miles downwind from the state’s most popular beach. Local environmental groups estimate that air pollution will quadruple in the Brownsville-South Padre Island metroplex, a 10-mile stretch of coastline, residential neighborhoods and small businesses that may soon sit under the brown-cloud haze of pollution already familiar to residents of industrialized regions like Corpus Christi, Galveston and Houston. The purification and refrigeration process for LNG is so energy-intensive that the amount of greenhouse gas emissions for this region would be staggering.

In addition to the envionmental concerns, the market for LNG is drying up rapidly.  Please notice this excerpt from an article in the McAllen Monitor by guest columnist Stefanie Herwek, that was not reprinted in the Brownsville Herald for some reason:

Proposed LNG Plants in Port of Brownsville Area

"Citing a 2013 report (when LNG was

lucrative), the lobby group Texans for LNG is promising that LNG exports will bring thousands of jobs to the state and billions in tax revenue. The companies proposing to build LNG export terminals to the Port of Brownsville — Texas LNG, Annova LNG and Rio Grande LNG — have paid for studies that claim to show what share of this supposed economic boon they would each bring.
But these predictions are banking on an LNG boom that’s already over.

Global LNG prices have fallen more than 60 percent since 2014 and are expected to fall more in the next three to five years.

This plunge was initiated by plummeting oil prices and made worse because demand for LNG dried up in Asia as the Chinese economy slowed and Japan shifted back to nuclear power. At the same time, the commissioning of several large Australian LNG export facilities created a major glut in the market.

In fact, analyses by the Canadian bank CIBC and the U.S Department of Energy concluded that there will only be a market for 6.5 billion cubic-feet per day of LNG from North America for the next eight years. The five U.S. LNG export terminals already approved and under construction will have a combined maximum capacity of 14 billion cubic-feet per day.

That means the American LNG industry is already on track to produce twice as much as the market will bear for at least the next eight years.

In addition to that huge over-capacity, there are seven LNG export projects ahead of Texas LNG, Annova LNG and Rio Grande LNG in the U.S. regulatory process, and another 20 proposed Canadian projects. This long queue in a limited market makes the companies’ confidence in their business plans sound absurd."


  1. Thanks Mr. Champion for standing up to the anti LNG lies.

    1. What lies? You can not name them, can you because there are no lies.

    2. LNG is safe. Fact. Enough said. LNG is coming. Here. Suck it up. If you do not like it, move.

    3. LNG is safe,?! Hahahha!!! after the effluent has been thrown into the river , I'll walk u there with a cup. Cup out the water and make you drink it... Put your money where your mouth is.. (mic drop)

    4. You wouldn't drink that water today asshat.

  2. Great Article, Jim! You are telling the Truth about LNGs ! Keep up the Good Work !

  3. I personally spoke with Val Champion the day after the city of South Padre made a motion to oppose LNG. I spoke to him regarding his, and the Chambers, support of Annova. When our conversation turned to pollution, he said, "what pollution?". Needless to say, I was shocked.

  4. The national Chamber of Commerce organization is a right-wing lobbying organization and engages in right-wing political activism. I presume they are supported by the local branches. Boycott all Los Fresnos merchants that support the chamber of commerce. There is often a sticker on a front window indicating membership.

    1. Well th3n boycott spi :h@mber too,they support lng

  5. Very well written article. We need to share the heck out of this one....

  6. Excellent article. Informative and to the point. Thanks to Jim Barton.

  7. This is really fine work. Wow.



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