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Brownsville Navigation District Okays Talks With LNG Pipeline Despite Community Opposition

BROWNSVILLE, TX -- On Wednesday afternoon, community members from Save RGV from LNG voiced strong opposition over the Brownsville Navigation District’s Board of Commissioners vote to allow a lease extension option for Texas LNG and for negotiations to begin to lease 40 acres for a pipeline compressor station for the proposed Valley Crossing Pipeline to be operated by TransCanada, and Spectra Energy. The proposed 42-inch fracked gas pipeline would pipe gas 140 miles from near Corpus Christi to feed the Texas LNG export terminal at the Port of Brownsville, and ultimately travel out to the coast and underneath the Gulf of Mexico to all the way to Veracruz, Mexico.

“We could see over 3,000 acres of natural gas industrialization on pristine wetland ecosystems at the Port of Brownsville – five new flammable fracked gas pipelines, three noisy and polluting compressor stations, and three LNG export terminals,” said Maria Galasso, Save RGV from LNG member and Laguna Vista resident.

The Valley Crossing Pipeline could run alongside the proposed Rio Bravo double 42-inch pipelines. The presence of 3 large transmission lines running along Highway 48 would endanger the public, the ship channel businesses and the sensitive Bahia Grande.

Natural gas pipeline explosions do happen. This past April, a 30-inch fracked gas pipeline owned by Spectra Energy exploded due to corrosion in Salem Township, Pennsylvania. One man from a nearby house escaped with burns on more than 75 percent of his body, a 12-foot hole was blown into the ground, and 40 acres were scorched.

“Local firemen are not equipped to put out these fires. We evacuate nearby residents and wait until the fire burns itself out. As these pipelines burn, they pollute and emit volatile organic compounds,” said Ed McBride, retired Colorado fire chief and resident of Long Island Village.

Corrosion is a major cause of pipeline incidents, and the soils in the area are highly corrosive. Texas LNG’s own resource report submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) noted that they would have to consult a corrosion engineer because steel, metal, and concrete elements in contact with the soil would be subject to degradation.

“The Port of Brownsville Commissioners need to stand with the Laguna Madre communities that will be impacted by the LNG infrastructure: South Padre Island, Port Isabel, Laguna Vista, Laguna Heights, and Long Island village. They have all passed resolutions opposing LNG and have filed interventions on all four LNG company permit applications with the FERC,” said Rebekah Hinojosa, Conservation Organizer with the Texas Sierra Club.

The Port Commissioners heard several public comments opposing the LNG pipelines, and voted unanimously to approve further negotiations with TransCanada and Spectra Energy and to extend the lease option for Texas LNG.

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