Triple Pundit: RAN: Texas Rio Grande Valley Under Threat from Natural Gas

But according to the environmental NGO Rainforest Action Network, liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals proposed in cities such as Brownsville are a long-term threat to both the local economy and environment.

The problem, say RAN’s researchers, is that if approved, these terminals would be constructed near neighborhoods with some of the highest poverty rates in the U.S. The results could be an egregious violation of environmental justice as these LNG terminals could cause air pollution levels to spike. The outcome, therefore, would be students missing more days of school, an increase in asthma attacks and contaminated water. The quest to expand fracking in southern Texas, in fact, even led one energy company to suggest fracking in the middle of residential neighborhoods.

Meanwhile, what is now a mostly pristine coastline would see risks imposed on its local shrimping and fishing industries. In addition, ecotourism jobs that depend on popular recreational activities like sport fishing and bird watching would also come under threat. The NGO suggested that, in total, as many 6,600 jobs reliant on ecotourism could be negatively affected. In contrast, RAN’s study concludes that the construction of LNG terminals would create only a few hundred permanent jobs after the temporary workers needed to build these plants were terminated. (read more)