The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has released audio of the public meeting held last Tuesday with Texas LNG where they received questions and comments from residents concerning the necessary air-quality permitting application at the state level.
State Rep. Rene Oliveira, D-Brownsville, requested the meeting after being lobbied by constituents to do so, according to Oliveira, who was in attendance.
Activists representing Save RGV from LNG and the Lower Rio Grande Valley Sierra Club held a rally and press conference prior to the meeting at WashingtonPark.
The meeting was composed of two parts: an informal question and answer period and a formal on-the-record period wherein comments and questions made will be responded to by the TCEQ in a comprehensive document titled Executive Director’s Response to Comments.
Only the formal, on-the-record portion of the meeting was released by TCEQ.
Below are questions from the activists and responses from the TCEQ panel composed of technical reviewer Joel Klumpp, environmental lawyer Sierra Redding, representative from the Public Interest Council Garrett Arthur and Texas LNG Project Manager David Blessner.
Note that the questions were edited for brevity.
Stephanie Herwick, Lower Rio Grande Valley Sierra Club: Given the fact that the three [Texas LNG] projects are all within two or three miles of each other … is a cumulative-impact study … going to be done?
Klumpp: She was right. This project is the first one to come in. We also received a second application. So that was the point where we did the air-quality monitoring for this project. We did have the company take into consideration the second project.
Unfortunately, the ANOVA project hasn’t come in to TCEQ so we don’t have a way to verify those emissions. So that third project has not been evaluated yet but the two that we do have in-house so far, they have both cumulatively been evaluated in the modeling process to be complete.
Scott Nicol: These facilities are going to have a number of schools … down the wind from – the way the wind generally blows. When you did this modeling, do you set up monitors at the site at the schools or guestimating what the current baseline is?
TCEQ Representative: So, we don’t set up the monitors. What goes into the model is a meteorological data and that goes into the data. And the model looks for worst-case meteorological conditions that can occur and the model means it spits out numbers based on receptors that are around. And that’s how it’s identified.
Nicol asked if new monitors would be installed on site, to which the local TCEQ representative from Harlingen responded that it would be left up to the facilities to report their emissions. Nicol likened this practice to speeding and reporting it a week later, so as to imply a lack of accountability. He was told by Klumpp, after six seconds of silence, to state his comment during the on-the-record moment.
On-the-record statements were made by local residents. Tony Garcia, a Vietnam Veteran recalled arriving in Brownsville after his deployment only to find no employment.
He further mentioned his two sons who having graduated with an electrical engineering degree from Texas A&M—Kingsville, in one case, and a Master’s degree from the same institution, who now live in San Antonio.
Garcia feels Brownsville is losing a lot of talent due to there being no local industry.
Other residents like Rick Teeter from Laguna Madre who cited the impediment of the wildlife corridor near his home, as well as residents from the surrounding area not being represented due to non-recognition within the Brownsville Navigation District, which he called “misnomer.”
The TCEQ is still receiving comments from the public until October 24 to be considered in its final decision three to four months from now, according to TCEQ.
Links: To listen, log onto “public meeting.”
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By Jonathan Salinas | Staff Writer