Activists Criticize Louisiana’s Inconsistent Action on Climate Change

Photo Source: “Cancer alley” by GinesAlberto | License

Last week, Louisiana politicians gathered for the groundbreaking of the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion project, a $3 billion effort expected to restore 21 square miles of Louisiana coastline. While the project is being hailed by many as a huge step forward in combating climate change and land loss, others have noted that it seems hypocritical in the face of other actions taken by the state.

“Just a few miles away from the groundbreaking, Venture Global is constructing one of its four planned gas export terminals in Louisiana, Plaquemines LNG. This terminal will not only decimate Plaquemines Parish’s fragile coast, it will also ruin the local fishing industry, and put the local community in grave danger,” said Anne Rolfes, Executive Director of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade. “How can these politicians honestly claim they’re trying to rebuild our coast when they just gave Venture Global a $184 million tax break to build a gas export terminal?”

Venture Global was recently served a compliance order by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality after reporting more than 138 pollution incidents at it’s Calcasieu Pass LNG facility in Cameron Parish. A report from the Louisiana Bucket Brigade indicates that it’s likely much more. The report found that the company was in violation of its permit for 83% of its first year of operation – 286 days.  In addition, just after it began operating, the facility reported a preventable release of 180,000 pounds of natural gas.’

Louisiana is in the midst of a boom in liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects along the U.S. Gulf Coast thanks to a global surge in demand. Earlier this year, the U.S. became the world’s biggest LGN exporter, and a recent report shows 16 new LNG projects planned along the coast, many in Louisiana.

This is a concern in an area frequently affected by hurricanes.

Following Hurricane Ida in 2022, there were over 2,000 pollution events that left chemicals and oil spilling into the states water and air, but it’s difficult to inform local citizens of the risk because most industrial facilities are only required to disclose general information on their operations, chemicals on site, or risks associated with the facility in a Risk Management Plan (RMP). While those RMPs are publicly available, they are often difficult to obtain, as they must be viewed in person in a federal reading room. Additionally, LNG facilities are not required to even have an RMP.

“If these politicians want to get serious about protecting Louisiana’s coastal communities, including our world-renowned seafood industry, then they need to stop trying to turn our coast into an industrial wasteland and start investing in the fishers, shrimpers, and oystermen who’ve sustained our people and culture for generations,” Rolfes said.

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