Louisiana Community and Environmental Groups Challenge Coastal Use Permits for Controversial CP2 Project

Proposed LNG export facility and pipeline would destroy coastal wetlands in one of the most vulnerable areas to flooding and sea level rise in the country


Alexandria Trimble, atrimble@earthjustice.org

Today, community and environmental groups challenged the Louisiana Department of Energy and Natural Resources’ (LDENR) decisions to approve Venture Global’s coastal use permits to construct and operate the CP2 methane gas liquefaction, storage, and export facility and the CP Express gas pipeline.

There are already six liquified methane gas, known as LNG, export terminals proposed, approved, or operating in the Lake Charles, Calcasieu River area—including one approved and one proposed in the immediate vicinity of the CP2 export terminal. These facilities already contribute to wetland and habitat loss, climate change, air pollution, and increased risks of catastrophic events.

“Communities near the industrial takeover of Lake Charles are living in a nightmare,” said Cynthia Robertson of Micah 6:8 Mission. “LDENR is allowing the destruction of thousands of acres of wetlands for this LNG terminal and pipeline. There’s no justification for the extreme damage this project would perpetuate on communities and the environment.”

“The CP2 export facility and its pipeline would throw coastal communities into further chaos,” said Travis Dardar, Founder/Director of FISH – Fishermen Involved in Sustaining our Heritage. “These permits do not account for how the projects would affect fisheries. LNG operations, including tanker wakes and dredging, harms commercial shrimping and the livelihoods that feed our communities. It’s unacceptable to lose an industry that nourishes our state to one that poisons it.”

“LNG exports and gas pipelines are not safe for people or the environment,” said Alyssa Portaro, Founder/Director of Habitat Recovery Project. “It’s unconscionable that LDENR would allow another facility in an already overburdened area where leaks and explosions are always a high risk. Add this to the erosion of coastal wetlands and the likelihood of massive hurricanes, and LDENR has permitted a ticking time bomb.”

“LDENR failed to adequately assess the costs of the CP2 project and its potential and cumulative adverse impacts on the Louisiana coast and its people,” said Elizabeth Calderon, Senior Attorney at Earthjustice. “This area is home to some of Louisiana’s most important coastal resources, like protective wetlands and chenier habitats, and it is already saturated with oil and gas development.”

“Just this week we endured storms and heavy rains in the region proposed for CP2,” said Anne Rolfes of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade. “As the storms get stronger and our risk grows, we need to scrap the plans for gas export approvals and we need LDENR to stop rubber stamping pollution and destruction. We need less pollution and more protection.”

“LDENR continues to overlook the needs of coastal communities,” said Roddy Hughes, Southwest Louisiana Organizer, Sierra Club. “CP2 is another prime example of state agencies placing corporations above the welfare of the people and the environment, which they are tasked with protecting.”

“The approval of the CP2 coastal use permit by LDENR disregards the cumulative impacts on our vulnerable coastal areas and the people who call them home,” James Hiatt, Director of For a Better Bayou commented. “The agency’s thoughtless approval of the rampant industrialization of our coastlines must be met with rigorous scrutiny and opposition for the sake of our people, the environment, and future generations.”

“LDENR approving this Coastal Use Permit shows the degree to which the state government is willing to disregard major threats to coastal Louisiana,” said Andrew Whitehurst of Healthy Gulf. “By approving this permit, LDENR is choosing to serve an industry that will increase threats to the vulnerable communities both near CP2 and elsewhere along our coast.”

Venture Global cannot begin construction of the CP2 export facility without approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which is independent of the Department of Energy’s LNG export pause.

Earthjustice represents Healthy Gulf, For a Better Bayou, Fishermen Involved in Sustaining our Heritage, Habitat Recovery Project, Louisiana Bucket Brigade, Micah 6:8 Mission, and Sierra Club  in the petitions to review the coastal use permits. Joining Earthjustice’s representation are counsel from the Broussard Injury Lawyers in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

Earthjustice submitted comments urging LDENR to deny the coastal use permits for the CP2 LNG export terminal and CP Express gas pipeline on behalf of the groups in 2022, and supplemental comments in 2023.

A chemical fire burns at a facility during the aftermath of Hurricane Laura Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020, near Lake Charles, LA.
A chemical fire burns at a facility near Lake Charles, LA, in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura in 2020. (David J. Phillip)

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