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Minority Communities Suffer from Storms as GOP and Trump Admin Promote Oil and Gas

Minority Communities Suffer from Storms as GOP and Trump Admin Promote Oil and Gas

Pat Harris in her storm-damaged housing complex in Port Arthur, Texas

On October 18, two senators who reject the science of climate change, Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA), teamed up to introduce a bill to fast-track the regulatory process for exporting small-scale liquefied natural gas (LNG). And on October 24, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke proposed the largest ever sale of oil and gas leases in the United States. The plan would offer nearly 77 million acres of federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico for auction to the fossil fuel industry.

Port Arthur's Prince Hall Village Apartments across from a Valero refinery
Prince Hall Village Apartments across from Valero’s Port Arthur refinery on October 13, 2017.

FEMA interviewing residents of a housing complex in Port Arthur, Texas
FEMA interviewing residents at Prince Hall Village Apartments on September 20, 2017.

Rubio and Cassidy now both acknowledge that the climate has changed, but don’t think mankind plays a major role in the stronger and more frequent storms, droughts, heat waves, and floods documented by researchers. Both have touted the expansion of the natural gas industry as good for the climate, citing the fact that gas burns cleaner than coal. But they ignore scientific evidence showing that when accounting for the production of natural gas, from extraction to delivery, the fuel could be worse for the climate than burning coal.

Their proposed legislation, if passed, would likely lead to an expansion of the fracking industry to meet the needs of the global market, as DeSmog’s Steve Horn has reported recently. In his article, Horn explained the misnomer of “small-scale LNG,” writing that “small-scale LNG does not refer necessarily to the actual amount of LNG which will be exported from the site, but rather the size of the tankers carrying the natural gas.”

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