Cameron Parish’s Venture Global LNG Export Facility Disappoints Environmentalists by Continually Violating Permits

tanks of LNG at plant

With the help of former U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu, Arlington Virginia-based Venture Global – a producer of liquefied natural gas (LNG) sourced from “resource rich” North American natural gas basins – opened its first facility located in Cameron Parish at Calcasieu Pass in January, 2022. The company is currently exporting 12 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) and plans to increase that capacity to 60 MTPA in an effort to provide “clean, affordable energy to the world,” according to Venture Global LNG’s website. 

During her 18 years in the U.S. Senate, Landrieu was a staunch advocate for the oil and gas industry. As chair of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Landrieu was in a powerful position to lend her support to numerous projects including the Keystone XL pipeline. She also was in favor of the exportation of crude oil and natural gas as well as legislation that deregulated portions of the fossil fuel industry. In addition, she opposed the regulation of greenhouse gasses. 

Landrieu is now a registered lobbyist with the Washington, D.C. government relations firm Van Ness Feldman where she represents several fossil fuel industry clients. According to federal lobbyist registration documents, Landrieu was tasked with assisting Venture Global “obtain all federal permissions required to build and operate LNG export facilities in the U.S.”  Landrieu also helped found Climate Solutions Foundation (CSF) in 2019 which is seeking bipartisan solutions to climate change. She is also leadership council co-chair for Natural Allies for a Clean Energy Future. Earlier this week, Landrieu publicly praised LNG export facilities for driving down global emissions and breaking the world’s addiction to coal.    

Almost five years ago, Venture Global began touting their plan to invest billions in new facilities, equipment and labor for the Calcasieu Pass project on a 1,000 acres + site located when the Calcasieu Ship Channel meets the Gulf of Mexico approximately 50 miles south of Lake Charles. According to their website, Venture Global is developing an export facility in Plaquemines Parish on marker 55 of the Mississippi River which they project to have an export capacity of up to 20 million MTPA. 

Venture Global is proposing to build, own and operate Delta LNG on a 524 acre site also in Plaquemines Parish which will connect the terminal with natural gas pipeline interconnections near Alto, Louisiana. The proposed CP2 LNG Project, which would be located on a 546-acre site in Cameron Parish, would connect a pipeline that originates in Jasper County, Texas to feed natural gas to the LNG facility in Lake Charles. Venture Global is building Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) projects at each of its LNG facilities. In January, 2023 Venture Global announced the closing of $1 Billion in senior secured notes by Venture Global Calcasieu Pass, LLC which will mature on January 15, 2030.  

With four projects quickly proceeding in Louisiana, Landrieu has obviously done an excellent job serving her client’s needs. Too bad she could not convince Venture Global to operate within its permits. After Venture Global’s semi-annual air monitoring report revealed more than 2,000 permit violations at Calcasieu Pass during its first year of operation, eight groups sent a letter to the Regional Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Tuesday, May 23. The letter requested that the federal government urgently intervene to ensure that Louisiana’s Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) does not rubber stamp permit modifications which would automatically transform Venture Global’s permit violations into compliance. 

The eight organizations represent Louisiana fishermen, former oil industry workers, religious communities, parents and ordinary Louisiana citizens. In the monitoring reports released in April, 2023, Venture Global indicated the company was applying for permit modifications to “update the maximum hourly emission rate” as its corrective action for ongoing, persistent emission violations. The Louisiana Bucket Brigade, the Sierra Gulf, Healthy Gulf and others cited the LDEQ’s failure to enforce permits over the last year as well as the agency’s routine practice of raising permit limits when violations occur.

“(Venture Global) hasn’t honored its commitments to Cameron. They haven’t honored their commitment to the state,” said John Allaire, who lives under the shadow of Venture Global’s Calcasieu Pass facility and can regularly see the facility flaring from his porch. “If you have a problem with your equipment, you don’t continue to operate it to maximize profits. You go and fix it.”

The Calcasieu Pass facility operated 343 days in 2022. During that time, the facility was in violation of its permit for 286 days or 83% of the time, according to environmentalists. “It would be as if I got pulled over by a cop for doing 80 in a 60 zone and rather than give me a ticket the cop agrees to just raise the speed limit to 80,” said Anne Rolfes, the Executive Director of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade. “That’s the equivalent. They want to change the parameters by which they are judged rather than comply with the law and their permits.”    

Venture Global already has a history of underreporting accidents occurring at the Calcasieu Pass facility and recently had to delay operations at Calcasieu Pass due to a malfunction that required repair. With terminals proposed all along Louisiana’s coasts, in November 2022 local shrimpers voiced their concerns that these terminals would destroy local fishing grounds by bringing a flotilla to an LNG conference in Lake Charles. ACP CLEANPOWER 2023, America’s largest renewable power association, just concluded its meeting in New Orleans on May 25. Visit the website for more information. 

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