Second LNG report released
Public comment session slated for Nov. 15 in Port Isabel
BY STEVE CLARK
Two out of three liquefied natural gas companies that have proposed building plants at the Port of Brownsville have received Draft Environmental Impact Statements from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
FERC announced Sunday the release of a draft EIS for Texas LNG, whose plans call for a natural gas liquefaction and export terminal on 625 acres on the north bank of the Brownsville Ship Channel. The plant would have capacity to export up to 4 million metric tons of LNG per year when fully built out.
FERC on Oct. 12 issued a draft EIS for Rio Grande LNG and the associated Rio Bravo natural gas pipeline project. Texas LNG’s proposal is modest in scope compared to that of Rio Grande LNG, which is planning a facility on 1,000 acres next to Texas LNG with a total build-out capacity of 27 million metric tons a year.
The draft EIS assesses potential environmental effects of construction and operation of a project per mandate by the National Environmental Policy Act. The document for Texas LNG’s project concludes that adverse environmental impacts would result from construction and operation of its terminal, but says the impacts could be avoided or minimized and would not be significant in most cases as long as mitigation measures recommended in the EIS are followed.
The big exception is the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, the nearest boundary of which is 200 feet across State Highway 48 from the proposed project site and from which the Texas LNG facility would be clearly visible, according to the report. All designated recreation areas within Laguna Madre are more than two miles from the Texas LNG site, according to the EIS.
“WhiletheLNGterminal, especially the storage tanks and flares, would be visible from most of the key observation points, it would generally not dominate the viewshed,” the EIS reads. “However, the LNG terminal would dominate the daytime and nighttime viewshed at ... State Highway 48 and the Laguna Atascosa NWR and likely at the Loma Ecological Preserve.”
The EIS identifies a total of nine recreation areas within five miles of the project site, but concludes the plant would have “negligible to moderate” permanent impact on the view from the other vantage points. The other recreation areas include the SouthBayCoastalPreserve and South Bay Paddling Trail, Isla Blanca Park and Loma Ecological Preserve.
Texas LNG’s facility would also likely be visible from some residences in Port Isabel and South Padre Island, especially from the upper floors of numerous high-rise condominiums, and from sightseeing tours operating within the ship channel, according to the document.
The project, combined with the other two LNG projects proposed for the ship channel (Rio Grande LNG and Annova LNG, which expects to receive its draft EIS in the fourth quarter of this year) would have “significant cumulative impacts from sediment/ turbidity and shoreline erosions” within the ship channel, and on the federally listed ocelot and jaguarundi from habitat loss and increased potential for getting hit by vehicles during construction, the EIS reads.
Overall, environmental impacts from construction and operation of Texas LNG would be temporary or short-term, according to the report, which is available in its entirety on the Environmental Documents page at www.ferc.gov. FERC invites public comments on the EIS through Dec. 17. Complete instructions for submitting comments can be found on Pages 3 and 4 of the EIS.
Also, a public comment session is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 15, at the Port Isabel Convention Center, 309 E. Railroad Ave., from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Langtry Meyer, Texas LNG cofounder and chief operating officer, said the Houston-based company is “committed to show how our project protects the environment and generates significant benefits for the local community” and the port.
“This project will bring jobs and investment to Cameron County and deliver clean, safe, abundant Texas natural gas energy to the world,” he said.