Lawsuit Asks Energy Regulator To Reevaluate Impact Of Natural Gas Terminals In South Texas

Texas RioGrande Legal Aid wants a federal agency to reevaluate its approval of a natural gas processing facility near wetlands in the Rio Grande Valley.

By Michael MarksMarch 4, 2020 1:17 pm, ,

In November, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, approved proposals for three new natural gas terminals in the Rio Grande Valley. These facilities would liquefy natural gas coming from other parts of the state like the Permian Basin, preparing it for export abroad. The terminals would give relief to energy companies that produce a surplus of natural gas with nowhere to put it. Much of it ends up being “flared,” or burned off, which pollutes the air.

But conservationists, locals and activists are fighting to stop the construction of the new terminals because of what they say are environmental risks to the area. Most recently, they’ve asked a federal appellate court to force FERC to reconsider its approval of the terminal projects.

Erin Gaines is an attorney for Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, one of the plaintiffs in this case. Gaines says FERC didn’t consider how the facilities would affect the people and environment that surrounds the proposed sites.

“[FERC] did not adequately consider the health impacts from these facilities, impacts to local shrimping communities and impacts to the environment from destruction of wetlands and other impacts to endangered species,” Gaines says.

What you’ll hear in this segment:

– Why the lawsuit only challenges FERC’s approval of one of the three natural gas terminals

– How Texas RioGrande Legal Aid alleges that FERC didn’t adequately consider the facilities’ risks to low-income communities

– What possible alternatives exist to building the terminals


Written by Caroline Covington.