Courtney Naquin, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rio Grande Valley, TX - Today, NextDecade, a fossil fuel corporation, announced that it is delaying their final investment decision (FID) for Rio Grande LNG, a gas export terminal proposed in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV), by the summer of 2023. Last year, Rio Grande LNG began clear cutting land without reaching FID.
This project has been delayed for years, and still faces several challenges to being built. Due to a lawsuit victory from Sierra Club, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is re-reviewing their environmental impact statement (EIS) for Rio Grande LNG because it failed to adequately consider the projects’ environmental justice and climate impacts.
The construction of Rio Grande LNG is only one project in a suite of several damaging and polluting projects proposed in the RGV. Rio Grande LNG would be built in close proximity to Texas LNG, another proposed gas export facility, which threatens the destruction of Garcia Pasture, a sacred site belonging to the Carrizo Comecrudo Tribe of Texas, and is a recognized heritage site by the National Parks Service and the World Monuments Fund.
Rio Grande LNG would also build a new connecting pipeline, the Rio Bravo Pipeline, to transport fracked gas. The project also wants to build a carbon capture and storage (CCS) facility, an industry greenwashing technology that has been proven to fail and create more environmental problems.
Environmental groups, foreign allies, communities across South Texas, and the Carrizo Comecrudo Tribe have opposed the LNG export buildout for years. If built, Rio Grande LNG will be the biggest polluter in the RGV region, damage critical habitats such as the Laguna Atascosa Wildlife Refuge for endangered species such as the ocelot, and pollute largely low-income and Latinx and immigrant communities.
Banks and investors have constantly been under fire from local and international communities and environmental experts for supporting Rio Grande LNG. French financial institutions, Societé Generale and Engie, have been criticized for their hypocrisy in supporting fracked gas projects that go against France’s climate commitments and their own domestic fracking ban. Engie had dropped its support of Rio Grande LNG in 2020, but revived its deal last year And now TotalEnergies, French petrochemical company, is reported to be in talks with the company NextDecade to purchase gas from the proposed Rio Grande LNG export terminal, and that it may take an equity stake in the project.
Emma Guevara, Sierra Club’s Brownsville Organizer, said:
“Rio Grande LNG is a destructive project that our community doesn’t even want. LNG export terminals would have devastating effects on the surrounding environment, wildlife, and public health for the surrounding communities, not to mention their complete disregard for Indigenous sovereignty and of sacred sites for the Carrizo Comecrudo Tribe of Texas. Rio Grande LNG has no business existing in the Rio Grande Valley or anywhere else. Our community will continue to fight for our land and our lives whether Rio Grande LNG reaches FID tomorrow or a year from now.”
Tom Gosselin, Associate Attorney with Sierra Club, said:
“Next decade is putting the cart before the horse. FERC is still reviewing the project’s greenhouse gas emissions and impacts to environmental justice groups as required by the D.C. Circuit court of appeals. And FERC is still reviewing other aspects of the project as well. There are still hurdles that must be cleared before the project moves forward. Reaching a final investment decision without a clearer picture is risky and irresponsible.”
Lorette Philippot, private finance campaigner with Friends of the Earth France, said:
"This new delay should put an end to this dreadful methane gas project. Any company involved in giving Rio Grande LNG the crucial support to come online will be responsible for its climate-killing consequences. If financial institutions are actually serious about their climate commitments, they must make the urgent decision to deny NextDecade’s Rio Grande LNG project any financial support."
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.