South Texas Coalition Sues Army Corps of Engineers For Issuing Permit to Rio Grande LNG and Rio Bravo Pipeline That Violates the Clean Water Act


Courtney Naquin,

Brownsville, TX - Yesterday, Sierra Club, Shrimpers and Fishermen of the RGV, and Save RGV from LNG filed a lawsuit against the Army Corps of Engineers for reissuing a Clean Water Act section 404 “dredge and fill” permit for the Rio Grande LNG export terminal and the associated Rio Bravo Pipeline proposed for the Port of Brownsville. The groups argue that the permit falls short of legal requirements to avoid and compensate for impacts to wetlands, as required under section 404 of the Clean Water Act.

In March 2020, these groups sued the Army Corps over the initial 404 permit granted to Rio Grande LNG and Rio Bravo Pipeline. The Army Corps suspended this initial permit after the suit was filed, stating that it would reexamine the permit. Over a year later, the Army Corps reissued the permit, but the new permit still allows hundreds of acres of wetlands to be destroyed.

Rio Grande LNG is owned by NextDecade, who partnered with Canadian pipeline operator Enbridge, the company behind the Line 3 pipeline in Minnesota, to build the double Rio Bravo Pipeline to feed the facility. If built, Rio Grande LNG and Rio Bravo pipeline would be the biggest polluter to the low-income and Latinx communities of the Rio Grande Valley region, harm the local shrimping and fishing economy, irreparably damage federal wildlife refuges, threaten numerous endangered species like the ocelot, and destroy pristine lands that are sacred to the Carrizo/Comecrudo Tribe of South Texas.

“There’s no way around it: constructing these massive, polluting projects will cause significant damage to the environment and to communities across Rio Grande Valley. The Army Corps of Engineers had an opportunity to avoid and mitigate the impacts to local communities and the environment associated with this project, and failed yet again to do so.” said Tom Gosselin, associate attorney with Sierra Club’s Environmental Law Program. “We will explore every legal avenue we can to prevent the construction of Rio Grande LNG fracked gas export terminal and the Rio Bravo Pipeline.”

“Fossil fuel companies like NextDecade and Enbridge simply cannot be trusted and should not be invited to create more destructive projects in the Rio Grande Valley. The construction of new fracked gas infrastructure in the Rio Grande Valley is a clear cut example of environmental racism, but we refuse to be a sacrifice zone to the LNG industry,” said Emma Guevara, Brownsville organizer for Sierra Club. “Earlier this year, we successfully stopped Annova LNG, which was partially owned by Enbridge, from ever being built in the Valley after years of mobilization. We will continue to oppose destructive projects like Rio Grande LNG and the Rio Bravo Pipeline and resist the corporate, fossil-fuel takeover of our community.”

Enbridge has a growing track record of trampling over Indigenous lands and rights. In addition to having one of the worst safety records of any major pipeline company, Enbridge backed Minnesota law enforcement with over $2 million to crack down Native American and environmental protesters at Line 3 pipeline construction sites. Enbridge’s operational Valley Crossing Pipeline at the Port of Brownsville has already caused a sinkhole near a school in the Rio Grande Valley. In mid-October, Enbridge closed a $3 billion acquisition of the Moda Ingleside Energy Center, the U.S.’s largest crude-export hub near Corpus Christi, which also delivers fracked gas from West Texas to global markets. Endbriges’s operations in Corpus Christi have also faced significant Indigenous opposition as the corporation wants to expand into sacred Native lands.

About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with millions of members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit