Residents of Port St. Joe, Florida, worry a proposed LNG export terminal will do little but continue a legacy of polluting industry in the predominantly Black part of town north of the railroad tracks, E&E News Reports. For decades, a now-shuttered paper mill and chemical plant inundated North Port St. Joe with noxious odors and toxic pollution — the paper company, which is now a major landowner and developer, allegedly dumped toxic waste into a nearby wetland, which it then filled and sold to Black families.
“I can go down this street and name a whole lot of people that passed, on every street here. Most of them had cancer-related illnesses,” Beverly Ash, the owner of Moma Dot’s soul food restaurant in North Port St. Joe. “We don’t need another plant, because we had a lot of people that got sick and died.” Miami-based Nopetro LNG is seeking to build a — relatively — small LNG export terminal to avoid needing to satisfy federal permitting requirements, which it has admitted it wants to substantially expand after the plant is built.
In addition to the ongoing threat of toxic pollution, residents are also worried about potential explosions — worries validated by the explosion at the Freeport LNG facility in Texas. The liquefaction facility would be supplied by a local methane gas utility owned by the family of the Republican state representative who represents the area in the Florida House. “For me, we just got out of what I call the ‘stank industry,'” said North Port St. Joe pastor Charles Gathers. “I’m not trying to stop growth … I just want good growth.” (E&E News)