PRESS RELEASE: Local residents report excessive, underreported accidents at Venture Global’s Calcasieu Pass Facility
The report by Louisiana Bucket Brigade details violations, points to fast-tracked facility construction and lax Louisiana DEQ oversight
(Calcasieu Pass, LA)
Residents from the area surrounding Venture Global’s Calcasieu Pass Facility told press that findings from a recent report reveal that Venture Global is underreporting their accidents and that the facility’s fast-tracked construction is the likely cause for the facility’s excessive, dangerous and preventable gas releases.
John Allaire, a retired environmental engineer who worked in the oil and gas industry for 35 years and whose property is less than a mile from the facility, and James Hiatt, a local resident and Louisiana Bucket Brigade’s Southwest Louisiana Coordinator, spoke to findings from Louisiana Bucket Brigade’s report, which was released on Wednesday, Gas Export Spotlight: Venture Global Calcasieu Pass Facility Accidents January 18 – May 31, 2022.
“When I observed the flare — and I’ve had the Method 9 training from the DEQ, I’ve been to their site in Baton Rouge several times, I’ve been certified to do this type of work — it was 40-50 percent opacity [the limit is 20 percent for permitting] when I first called it in,” said Allaire, “And it went on for over a half hour, it’s in the series of photographs…To set up an opacity system on
all of their flares out there would be several hundred thousand dollars — but they’re making millions of dollars every ship load that goes out of there. I mean, [the cost of opacity monitors] would be minuscule based on a $4.4 billion project.”
Near-constant flaring from the facility — 84 out of 90 days between January 27 and April 27, 2022, according to citizen documentation — and under-reported accidents were among several key findings of the report. Others include consistent miscalculations of releases from the facility, state regulation violations, a lack of enforcement by the Louisiana DEQ of existing permits, and an increase in new permits for Venture Global, despite its violations.
“Every time we see black smokey flares we know that those gases are not being fully burned. We know this means that our community and our children will have to breathe even more toxic air,” said Hiatt, “To see that Venture Global isn’t reporting these flares raises serious concerns and questions, like what are they hiding? Was the facility built properly? Did Venture Global
prioritize speed over safety? Will it explode like the one in Texas did? We need LDEQ to start enforcing regulations and to stop issuing permits if they aren't even going to enforce them.”
Calcasieu Pass is one of three liquid natural gas export terminals in Cameron and Calcasieu parishes, with twelve more set to be built throughout Louisiana. Based on the new report – which clearly shows that in its first five months of operation, the Calcasieu Pass facility is unable to comply with its permits – the Louisiana Bucket Brigade recommends the state enforce the law at this facility and not approve construction of any additional gas export terminals.
“Looking through the reports, I was astonished to see that LDEQ knew Venture Global wasn’t following procedure, and hadn’t properly trained its staff,” said Shreyas Vasudevan, a researcher with Louisiana Bucket Brigade and author of the report, in a statement, “and yet LDEQ continued to issue permits to this facility. Looking at the information we have, it’s clear
that Venture Global is causing preventable harm to the community and violating state regulations while doing so.”
Venture Global is one of many developers trying to rapidly build out liquid natural gas export terminals along the Gulf Coast in an attempt to capitalize on the ‘export boom’. However, these terminals are putting local communities in danger, as evidenced by the explosion at Freeport LNG on Quintana Island, Texas. A recent report also revealed that the 25 impending liquid natural gas projects throughout the country could spew 90 million tons of greenhouse gasses annually, and a separate investigation found that these companies often underreport their emissions.
Local residents are pushing back against these terminals and calling for investments in renewable energy, such as wind and solar power, in an attempt to save their communities from the dangerous gasses these terminals release and the worsening effects of climate change they will cause.