The gas industry is eating away at coastal areas in the southern United States

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The gas industry is eating away at coastal areas in the southern United States

The Russian gas crisis has given new impetus to liquefied natural gas export projects.

The Gulf of Mexico has five of the seven US export terminals in operation and 22 of the 24 projects submitted to the authorities .

“They take our lives. On the threshold of his home in Louisiana, Travis Dardar points to an imposing gas export terminal… and the land that could soon accommodate a second one and force him to leave his home and his fishing activity .

This project is much worse than a hurricane, after which, at least, we can rebuild, judges whoever sees himself as a collateral victim of the development of the hurricane. American gas industry, which the Russian gas crisis has made paramount.

If it is built, there will be no going back, he adds.

In this coastal region between Texas and Louisiana, the recent proliferation of liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal projects, huge buildings placed on concrete plateaus which are gradually eating away at natural areas, irritates the inhabitants, who consider them too polluting.

The terminal envisaged would be only a few hundred meters from the home of Travis Dardar and his wife Nicole. This would leave them no choice but to pack up, hoping that their land would be bought back at a reasonable price.

Another is in the works where they fish. The Dardar couple therefore risks having to abandon their shrimp and oyster fishing activity in the area, the ultimate uprooting.

We don't know what we will do next. We know one thing: we can't live here, sorry Travis Dardar.

Last March, a few weeks after the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, President Joe Biden pledged to increase LNG deliveries to gas-dependent Europe. Russian.

Thus, 44.6 billion cubic meters have already been exported there in 2022, compared to 26 in 2020, reports the Center for LNG, which brings together companies in the sector.

The United States has become the world's largest exporter of LNG, an industry that can only be attracted by the Gulf of Mexico, with its infrastructure and strategic location.

The area alone has 5 of the 7 American export terminals in operation and 22 of the 24 projects submitted to the authorities.

An activity which, in return, brings it many jobs, promises Charlie Riedl, director general of the Center for LNG.

According to him, as long as terminal construction projects respect environmental criteria, the government must authorize them without delay .

John Allaire is concerned about the environmental impact of the development of the gas industry on the coasts of Louisiana and Texas.

But these coasts of Louisiana and Texas are sacrificed, assures John Allaire, another resident.

You have the noise, the light, the air pollution and several tens of hectares of concrete swamps, he laments, sitting in his boat, pointing to the new export terminal of LNG, very close to his home.

Annoyed, John Allaire observes the waves caused by the huge LNG tankers eroding the coast and the dredged sludge that covers his beach.

He is also concerned about the impact on wildlife. The planned development on the land bordering his property sits on a swamp that is home to an endangered bird species, the black rail.

It's horrible to see this administration (Biden, editor's note) […] which said that there was a climate emergency, approve these kinds of installations, laments Kelsey Crane, in charge of public policies at Earthworks.

Across the Sabine River, the Texas town of Port Arthur already has many petrochemical facilities.

Near the terminal of Cheniere Energy — which last year was fined nearly $1.5 million for cracks in its tanks — activist John Beard is leading a toxic tour of the area, along with environmental associations.

An LNG carrier is guided by tugs to the Cheniere Sabine Pass LNG export unit , Louisiana.

In June, an explosion caused the temporary closure of the LNG terminal in Freeport, further south, reminding residents of the immediate risks posed by this particular neighborhood.

But John Beard, at the head of the Port Arthur Community Action Network, also denounces the long-term effects on the health of inhabitants largely from minority backgrounds.

In Port Arthur, the population is mainly Afro American or Hispanic, and a quarter of residents live below the poverty line, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

In the county, the death rate from cancer is 25% higher higher than the rest of the state, according to the Texas Cancer Registry.

John Beard thinks that the industrialists did not choose this area by Chance: They take the path of least resistance: that of the poor, of those without access to lawyers, without the education or knowledge. see.

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