Courtney Naquin, email@example.com
Brownsville, TX- Yesterday, Rio Grande LNG, a fracked gas export terminal proposed for construction in South Texas, requested an extension from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for the facility to come online in 2028. Rio Grande LNG was initially expecting to be operational by 2026.
This is the second delay Rio Grande LNG has faced in 2022 alone and could face more. In January, NextDecade, the company behind Rio Grande LNG announced that their final investment decision (FID) would be delayed until the second half of this year, though FID was initially expected in 2019. However, Rio Grande LNG currently only has three customers lined-up, which is not enough to reach partial FID by the end of the year.
Rio Grande LNG attempted to justify this most recent delay with concerns about European gas supply which has been impacted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. However, even if Rio Grande LNG was on schedule, it would not be able to provide gas to Europe in the short term. It takes years to build new facilities and no new gas infrastructure is actually needed to supply Europe with gas from the US.
If built, Rio Grande LNG and the associated Rio Bravo pipeline would pollute low-income and Latinx communities of the Rio Grande Valley region, harm the local shrimping and fishing industry, irreparably damage the Laguna Atascosa wildlife refuge, threaten numerous endangered species like the ocelot, and destroy pristine lands sacred to the Carrizo/Comecrudo Tribe of South Texas. Rio Grande LNG never consulted with the Tribe, who opposes the project. For the last seven years, the project has faced significant local opposition, as well as ongoing legal challenges including an active lawsuit challenging the Clean Water Act permit for the facility, as well as a recent court ruling forcing federal regulators to redo their analysis of Rio Grande LNG’s climate and environmental justice impacts.
In response, Sierra Club Brownsville Organizer Emma Guevara released the following statement:
“Rio Grande LNG and the other proposed fracked gas export facility, Texas LNG, would devastate our local nature tourism and fishing economy, subject our families to dangerous pollution, and worsen the climate crisis. These LNG projects are on shaky ground, both legally and financially, and the opposition to gas exports isn’t going anywhere. More delays are inevitable. We will continue to fight to ensure that this project is never built. FERC needs to listen to our community which has made it clear they do not want LNG, and oppose this disastrous project once and for all.”
Tom Gosselin, attorney with Sierra Club’s Beyond Dirty Fuels Campaign, said:
“The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission must deny Rio Grande LNG’s request because Rio Grande LNG has not provided a satisfactory reason for the extension and FERC’s initial analyses are now stale. Rio Grande LNG’s request is misleading because this project is not likely to be completed in 2028 either. Construction will take at least a full six years. Rio Grande LNG is still waiting for several other FERC approvals and analyses. It is still the subject of active litigation. And, it still faces widespread community opposition and condemnation. It stands to reason that additional challenges and delays are forthcoming. FERC should do the right thing and deny this request. It’s time to bring this to an end. There is no point in approving a fiscally tenuous, super-polluting project that is unlikely to ever come to fruition."
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 www.sierraclub.org.