Port Arthur Mayor Thurman Bartie concerned with federal court ruling halting Port Arthur LNG project
Published 11:56 am Wednesday, November 15, 2023
A decision by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals that led to halting construction of Port Arthur LNG is “grievous and of great concern” to Port Arthur Mayor Thurman Bartie.
Bartie, who is currently in Atlanta at a summit for the National League of Cities, was made aware of the Courts decision at approximately 11 a.m. Wednesday. His concerns are two-fold.
“I understand the environmental concerns that environmental groups would have and even the TCEQ and EPA and I can understand what the courts have ruled on with consistency and actually applying standards to industrial facilities,” Bartie said.
“We live in a community that has grown from 125 years ago to the present built on industrial projects and this project — Port Arthur LNG — fosters growth in our community.”
Bartie hopes there is a middle ground and he would be the first to propose some type of discussions and that a compromise can be reached with the EPA and courts so the project can continue.
Bartie is also concerned with the economic impact that halting the project will have on the city, from the residents who work at the facility to the businesses and restaurants that feel the economic benefit from the plant.
The court’s decision vacated the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s order granting an emissions permit for Port Arthur LNG.
The decision to halt the multi-billion dollar project was handed down Tuesday.
According to a news release from Lone Star Legal Aid released this morning, the ruling means Texas regulators failed to follow the federal Clean Air Act in issuing the permit authorizing the construction of Sempra Energy’s Port Arthur LNG project.
In September, Sempra Infrastructure, a subsidiary of Sempra, announced the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the permit authorizing the Port Arthur LNG Phase 2 expansion project under development at Port Arthur LNG in Port Arthur.
The permit was lauded at the time as a major regulatory milestone for a proposed Phase 2 project, including the addition of two liquefaction trains (trains 3 and 4) capable of producing up to 13 million tonnes per annum of liquefied natural gas, company officials said.
CEO Justin Bird said Sempra Infrastructure is committed to investing in infrastructure opportunities that help enable a cleaner and more secure energy.
The order, he said, is a significant step in Sempra’s ability to advance the global energy transition, “creating an opportunity to double the amount of secure and reliable U.S. natural gas that Port Arthur LNG can help deliver to global markets.”
Phase 1 is under construction, and the development of the proposed Phase 2 project could increase the total liquefaction capacity of the facility from approximately 13 million tonnes per annum to approximately 26 million.
The proposed project is also expected to include an additional LNG storage tank and marine berth and would benefit from some of the common facilities under construction that were approved as part of the Port Arthur LNG Phase 1 permitting process.
At the time, Sempra Infrastructure was evaluating opportunities to develop the entirety of the Port Arthur site while exploring projects to reduce the carbon intensity of its LNG, positioning Port Arthur as a flagship hub for the energy transition.
The company is leveraging the integrated capabilities of its business segments to develop the proposed Port Arthur Pipeline Texas Connector project, the proposed Post Arthur Pipeline Louisiana Connector project and develop new gas storage facilities, all of which would serve the Port Arthur LNG facility.
To further the advancement of the Port Arthur Energy Hub, the company acquired 38,000 acres of pore space and relevant surface rights to support the proposed Titan Carbon Sequestration project, which is proximal in location to the Port Arthur LNG facility.
The project targets capturing carbon from Sempra Infrastructure’s Port Arthur LNG Phase 1 and 2 projects that are under development and has the potential to unlock other net-zero energy infrastructure opportunities.
“The value proposition of the proposed Port Arthur Energy Hub goes beyond monetary investment in the region,” Bird said. “The proposed projects by Sempra Infrastructure would create new, high-paying jobs, increase innovative business in the region and continue to bolster the reputation of the State of Texas as a global energy leader.”