Decline in Tourism
With flarestacks flaming 300 to 500 feet in the air and massive storage tanks up to 14 stories high, the LNG export terminals will be a blight on the surrounding communities and natural areas, and our burgeoning beach and nature tourism industries will be negatively affected. Tourism accounts for thousands of jobs in in the region, jobs which depend on clean air, clean water, and excellent fish and wildlife habitat.
Beach tourism brings $300 million dollars a year to South Padre Island and supports over 4,000 jobs. People from all over Texas drive or fly to the Island because they consider it the cleanest, most pristine beach in the state. The unsightly LNG plants and the pollution they bring will make South Padre Island just like all the other heavily industrialized coastal cities in Texas.
The Rio Grande Valley has a growing nature tourism industry which brought in $463 million dollars in 2011, and supported 6,613 full and part time jobs. People visit from all over the country to birdwatch and hike through the unique habitat at places such as the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge and the South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center.
An ecotourism destination that may never be
There are big plans for the Bahia Grande. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would like to make it a major nature recreation destination. And with 22,000 acres to roam, there will be lots of opportunities for kayaking, biking, hiking and wildlife viewing. The proposed LNG sites with their noise, lights, and pollution would ruin this vision before it can take off.