Cheniere is a Houston-based Fortune 500 fossil fuel company co-founded by Charif Souki and led by CEO Jack Fusco. In 2016, Cheniere became the first U.S. exporter of liquified “natural” gas (LNG). Today it is the largest U.S. LNG exporter (accounting for around 50% of U.S. shipments) and the second largest globally.
It is also a threat to the health and safety our Gulf Coast communities, and to the world's shared fight against climate change.
Cheniere owns and operates two major LNG production and export facilities on the Gulf Coast – facilities that have been found to be operating in violation of state and federal safety and environmental regulations:
Cheniere is best known as the owner / operator of the Sabine Pass LNG facility located near Port Arthur, Texas. It is the largest LNG terminal in the United States.
Sabine Pass LNG was recently fined $2.2 million by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration for violations including faulty equipment and gas leaks. The agency also found that Cheniere didn’t have the proper procedures in place to investigate or report fires, leaks or explosions in or around the facility.
In the Coastal Bend, Cheniere operates the sprawling Corpus Christi LNG facility, located on the La Quinta Channel in San Patricio County. The facility is well known to residents for the frequency of its flare, which can shoot flames 80 feet into the air.
Corpus Christi LNG has repeatedly violated its permitted limits on emissions of cancer-causing air pollutants. Despite this, Cheniere has begun construction that will expand the Corpus Christi facility's capacity by 50%.
Cheniere's Corpus Christi LNG facility also operates using multiple gas-powered turbines that release over 4 tons per year of two cancer-causing toxins: formaldehyde and benzene. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) first deemed these turbines unsafe back in 2004. This information was available to Cheniere for over a decade before they started construction in 2015, and yet they chose to use the dangerous technology anyway.
Last year, the EPA started retiring the gas-powered turbines. Cheniere asked for an exemption to the EPA rule, and thankfully the EPA refused. Unfortunately, a test from a Cheniere-controlled air monitor demonstrated “acceptable” levels of toxic pollution. That means Cheniere has a free pass to continue operating the cancer-causing turbines in our community.
Cheniere made $12 BILLION last year and they received $1.2 BILLION in tax breaks. They have more than enough money to pay for these updates, but won’t put our health before their profits. But with enough public pressure on Cheniere, we can force them to terminate the turbines.
Cheniere and other LNG producers want us to believe that liquefied methane gas is a “clean” fuel, and that facilities like Sabine Pass LNG and Corpus Christi LNG pose no risk to our Gulf Coast communities. But "clean gas" is a dirty lie.
When the flares at Cheniere’s LNG facilities are lit, they release harmful pollutants – volatile organic compounds (VOCs), nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, and others – that jeopardize the health of nearby residents.
And lots of pollutants. In fact, Cheniere’s Corpus Christi facility has exceeded its permitted limits for pollutant emissions hundreds of times since 2018.
Unfortunately, when the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality stepped in, it was to help Cheniere, not our communities. Rather than fine Cheniere for the violations, the TCEQ simply increased the company's pollutant limit!
Today the Corpus Christi facility is allowed to emit double its 2018 limit, even though regulators openly acknowledge the negative impact on local air quality.
"Make no mistake about it. Our predominantly Black, Indigenous and low-income communities along the Texas and Louisiana coast are under assault by Cheniere and other fossil fuel polluters."
"Studies clearly show that people who live near oil and gas facilities suffer from a range of negative impacts, including elevated rates of asthma, lung and cardiovascular disease, and cancer."
"And yet their assault continues. Our families are sentenced to live in a sacrifice zone so a handful of fossil fuel executives and shareholders can get richer. We are suffering and crying out for justice."
Port Arthur Community Action Network
Port Arthur, Texas
Photo by James Bruggers
But Cheniere’s LNG facilities aren’t just a threat to those of us living nearby. Extraction, processing, and transportation of “natural” gas results in major greenhouse gas emissions, which are driving climate change.
The LNG lifecycle emits especially large amounts of methane, which has a warming effect that’s more than 80 times greater than that of carbon dioxide in the first 20 years after its released. In fact, the near-term climate impact of burning LNG rivals that of burning coal.
Now Cheniere has asked the Biden Administration to exempt the company from newly-applicable federal limits on emissions of cancer-causing pollutants, including formaldehyde and benzene.
Granting Cheniere’s request would mean allowing the company to continue to emit toxic pollutants without any regard to the health or safety of Gulf Coast families, while loading the atmosphere with more greenhouse gases that threaten everyone's future.
If Cheniere expands the capacity of Corpus Christi LNG by 50% and successfully persuades federal regulators to exempt the company from pollutant limits, our communities will suffer deeply, as will the world’s efforts to slow down climate change.
Cheniere is also the beneficiary of more than $1.2 billion in tax breaks – $857 million from the State of Texas (the largest known tax abatement deal in state history), and another $369 million from local jurisdictions. In exchange for their massive tax break, Cheniere has promised to create all of 290 jobs – costing Texas taxpayers $4.29 million for every job!
Stand with Nueces County, San Patricio County, Jefferson County and Cameron Parish! JOIN OUR FIGHT to protect the Gulf Coast and the future of our planet.
Putting his world view on full display, Cheniere CEO Jack Fusco recently said that the destabilization of the European LNG market following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine delivers “tailwinds for our business.” Real nice, Jack. Real nice.
Website paid for by Texas Campaign for the Environment - Corpus Christi, Texas - Call us: 361-400-0314