Requests made of gas companies - Brownsville Herald: Letters To The Editor

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Requests made of gas companies

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Posted: Thursday, May 9, 2019 11:20 pm

Editor:

Four years ago, when liquefied natural gas companies first mentioned coming to South Texas, we all had our concerns. And we voiced those to local leaders, who did what we asked them to do. We asked them to take a stand, to ask tough questions, to demand assurances. We asked them to take care of our sea turtles and our ocelots, as well as ensure that our local shrimping industry could continue to work.

Since then NextDecade’s proposed Rio Grande LNG project has made great progress, acquiring the federal, state and local permits, approvals and agreements to move forward. They expect to get final approvals and begin construction this year.

Now I believe it is time for our local leaders to “adjust their focus.”

I urge our leaders to ensure that our families and work force are not left behind. Urge LNG contractors/ subcontractors to help us train our workers and to consider the unemployed and underemployed families in our community when hiring. Furthermore, expect that the contractors and subcontractors pay living wages!

We are one of the poorest communities in the country and Rio Grande LNG has pledged to train and hire locally as much as possible. We need jobs, skills development, apprenticeships and living wages!

At this point I choose to remain optimistic that this project will bring with it opportunity and stimulate economic growth. The project is expected to create about 5,000 construction jobs at peak, 200 permanent operations jobs and about 3,500 indirect jobs in Cameron County.

The indirect and direct economic impacts are too great to ignore and could create a much-needed economic boost in our community. Are we ready for this?

In the end, it’s about balance. If we are to thrive as a community, if our families are going to thrive, then we must aggressively seek opportunities such as these.

I applaud our leaders for taking a stand when they needed to. Now I encourage them to ensure that the families, local businesses and underemployed in our community are ready to reap the financial boosts that could come with this project.

Rita B. Hernandez

Brownsville

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