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The Daily Advertiser (Louisiana): Activists organize against Shell

Kayla Gagnet
[email protected]
Activists are hoping a grassroots campaign of e-mails, phone calls and letters to newspaper editors will make oil and gas giant Shell reconsider its plans to build an open-loop liquefied natural gas terminal off the coast of Cameron Parish.
Dan Favre, an organizer with the Gulf Restoration Network, met Wednesday night with student environmentalists at the University of Louisiana and then later with members of the local Sierra Club.
Favre said now is a “crucial time” in the battle against the controversial open-loop terminals, which use 100 million to 200 million gallons of sea water a day to warm and “re-gasify” liquefied natural gas so it can be shipped to American energy users.
“They're going to set a precedent for the whole Gulf,” Favre said.
At stake, he said, is irreparable damage to the Gulf of Mexico's fisheries. Environmental studies show the cold water that the open loop system pumps back into the Gulf would kill 5.3 percent of the red fish population and have an unknown effect on shrimp, crabs, grouper and other fish.
So far, only one open-loop terminal is operating in the Louisiana Gulf – the Excelerate Energy Bridge, far offshore and less damaging to sea life, Favre said. An application for an ExxonMobil terminal has been withdrawn, and there are six other terminals that either are proposed or pending, including the Shell site.
Shell has received government clearance to build its open-loop terminal at Gulf Landing, about 38 nautical miles off the Louisiana coast, south of Lake Charles. But, the Gulf Restoration Network and other commercial and recreational fishing groups want Shell to consider switching to the environmentally friendly closed-loop system.
Oil and gas companies transport natural gas in liquid form, cooled to minus 260 degrees, because it takes up 600 times less space than the gas form. When it arrives at terminals, it has to be warmed up so it can be transported in pipelines. A closed-loop system could use two different processes, Favre said.
One involves recycling the same water, keeping it warm by using 1.5 percent to 2 percent of the natural gas. Another involves using the ambient air temperature to warm the gas. Oil companies say both are too expensive.
Griff Blakewood, an environmental and sustainable resources instructor at UL, said he's hopeful that Shell will reconsider.
“At some point, we just have to start caring about the life of the planet,” Blakewood said.
Blakewood and student members of the Society for Peace, Environment, Action and Knowledge organized plans to write letters to area newspapers. They also made plans to call Shell executives next week on a designated “call-in” day, in an attempt to flood the company with complaints about the project.
“This is new to me,” SPEAK member E. “Ski” Witkovski, 26, said of the LNG terminals. “And it's really scary.”

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