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Protest of Energy Transfer’s Lake Charles LNG

By Tyson Slocum

Today Public Citizen protests the application of Energy Transfer to export 851 Bcf/year of LNG by vessel from its proposed Lake Charles Terminal in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana, located 12 miles northeast of Sabine National Wildlife Refuge.

Energy Transfer is owned and controlled by Kelcy Lee Warren. James R. “Rick” Perry joined Energy Transfer’s Board of Directors days after resigning as Secretary of Energy. Energy Transfer, whose billboards festoon the outfield wall of Major League Baseball’s Texas Rangers, is one of North America’s largest midstream oil and gas companies.

The U.S. Department of Energy is tasked by Congress to only permit exports of natural gas to non-Free Trade Act countries which are “not inconsistent with the public interest.” The U.S. Supreme Court noted that the “primary aim” of this 85-year-old law is “to protect consumers against exploitation at the hands of natural gas companies”.

Energy Transfer’s application to export LNG on behalf of its affiliate Lake Charles Exports LLC must be denied as the application fails to demonstrate that its request is consistent with the public interest. Public Citizen notes it is the first instance that a corporation with a criminal record is seeking permission to export LNG. Energy Transfer has been forced to pay more than $137 million in penalties and fines over the last decade for violating a litany of federal and state laws, suggesting the company has comprehensive compliance problems. When compliance failures appear to be endemic to Energy Transfer’s corporate culture, the Department of Energy cannot find that its application to export LNG is “consistent with the public interest”.

On August 5, 2022, Energy Transfer LP was convicted of criminal violations of environmental laws, entering a plea agreement with the Pennsylvania Attorney General. The criminal convictions stem form Energy Transfer repeatedly allowing thousands of gallons of drilling fluid to contaminate fields, backyards, streams, lakes and wetlands. The criminal plea notes that Energy Transfer failed to report these pollution releases to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection as required by law. Energy Transfer was found to be criminally negligent for a massive explosion on its Revolution pipeline, which burned families’ homes, barns and incinerated acres of mature trees. Energy Transfer paid a $10 million penalty, and agreed to be labeled a corporate criminal for life as an explicit part of the plea agreement.

Read our full, 38 page filing here: EnergyTransferLakeCharles