General Honoré, Fishermen, Residents Call on LDNR to Reject Venture Global Permit Application, Protect SWLA from Gas Export Onslaught

Lt. General Russel Honore’ speaking with fishermen and shrimpers ahead of the hearing

Link to hearing livestream

Wednesday, November 1, 2023 CAMERON, LA – On Wednesday, Lt. General Russel Honoré, fishermen, shrimpers, residents and allies met outside of the Cameron Parish Police Jury ahead of the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources’ (LDNR) coastal use permit hearing for Venture Global’s CP2 gas export terminal. Honoré and fishermen spoke about the need to protect Louisiana’s seafood industry from the onslaught of gas export terminals.

“I know Cameron Parrish. I was here after hurricanes, helping dig the mud out of these parish buildings. And the parish is still struggling,” said Lt. General Russel Honore, “If the gas export industry were so good for this place, the street should be in great condition, the library should be open, everything should be in good shape. It’s not.”

To make their demand for LDNR to reject Venture Global’s coastal use permit heard, Honoré, fishermen, shrimpers, residents and allies attended the hearing in the Cameron Parish Police Jury West Annex. During the hearing, attendees told LDNR about the damage that gas export terminals have already caused to Louisiana’s coast, making Louisiana more vulnerable to hurricanes and threatening a death blow to Louisiana’s seafood industry.

“If they would take this LNG out today, I would be back in this town tomorrow,” said Adley Dyson, a retired fisherman who moved out of Cameron, “All they do is take out of our town and our estuaries. When they dredge this mud out and put it in the South end of our lake, it’s going to be all over our oyster reefs, which is going to destroy another part of our fishing. I don’t know how much the fisheries can take with this LNG”

Cameron resident, John Allaire, holding a photo of flaring from Venture Global’s gas export terminal

Gas export terminals also displace commercial fishing boats by making boat launches inaccessible and clogging the shipping channel with massive tankers. An indigenous fisherman, Travis Dardar, spoke to this devastating reality at the hearing.

“This is going to destroy fishing in so many ways. One of the most basic ways is, where are you going to put the boats?” said Dardar, “This will destroy the fishing industry. Y’all are taking a boat launch where we would launch 3 boats at the same time and it solved us with one that we can’t even launch one boat in. That’s not made for commercial fishing. That’s not made for no fishermen.”

In recent years, regulators have expedited permits for gas export terminals. The industry misleadingly cites the war in Ukraine as a reason for fast-tracking permitting processes meant to protect communities and the environment. But research from Columbia University suggests that the main buyer of gas exports will be, as it was before, Asia.

This regulatory environment has also proved quite lucrative for gas export companies such as Venture Global. According to recent reports, Venture Global’s construction and operations strategies are bringing the company massive profits while subjecting the Cameron Parish community to excessive pollutionIn the last year, Venture Global has brought in over $18 billion dollars.

However, the gas export industry’s once favorable regulatory environment is shifting. In particular, approval of Venture Global’s CP2 is becoming a political quandary for the Biden administration. Biden’s decision could impact whether or not he’s able to excite young progressives concerned about climate change to show up and vote in key swing states, or potentially drive them to a third-party candidate.

“President Biden will have to decide whether he’s going to defend Louisiana’s fishermen and shrimpers or sacrifice this community to Venture Global so they can make another $18 billion exporting gas overseas,” said Lori Cooke, Southwest Louisiana Coordinator for the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, after the hearing, “If Biden is the champion of the middle class that he claims to be, then he’ll make sure that these families can earn a living fishing and shrimping in Southwest Louisiana as they’ve been doing for generations. The gas export industry wants to turn Louisiana into an industrial wasteland and you can’t achieve the American dream in an industrial wasteland.”

In addition to the “carbon mega bomb” that CP2 will be if constructed, residents are also concerned that the terminal will routinely violate its air permits, causing excessive pollution in local communities. Venture Global’s currently operating gas export terminal, Calcasieu Pass, has reported over 2,000 permit deviations. The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality has even issued a compliance order against the company, detailing 138 incidents where it polluted more than was allowed.

The port of Cameron once produced the most seafood in the U.S. However, plummeting prices, worsening storms and a spike in imported seafood has already made it difficult for the latest generation of local fishermen and shrimpers to continue working. Gas export terminals now threaten to become the final nail in the coffin for a trade that has sustained the local economy for generations and has been a cultural backbone for all of Louisiana.

Fishermen, shrimpers and residents of Cameron Parish have been mobilizing to halt the gas export terminal onslaught, including organizing a flotilla of shrimp boats outside of the LNG Summit of the Americas in Lake Charles last year. The terminals not only destroy once abundant fishing grounds, the massive tankers also prevent shrimping and fishing boats from accessing the Calcasieu River. Gas export terminals also make surrounding areas more vulnerable to flooding during major hurricanes. The terminals eat away at natural barriers such as cheniere plains and sandbars, and their massive walls only push the storm surge into nearby communities.

In addition to the 3 currently operational gas export terminals, and the 3 currently under construction, the oil and gas industry is trying to build or expand 10 more gas export terminals in Louisiana, with a larger onslaught along the Gulf Coast.

About Louisiana Bucket Brigade

The Louisiana Bucket Brigade collaborates with communities on the fenceline of polluting industry in Louisiana. We engage in grassroots action to hasten the transition from fossil fuels.

Visit the website for more information.

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