INSTITUTE INDEX: Texas LNG blast underscores risks to nearby communities

Surveillance footage from Quintana Beach County Park captured an explosion at a liquefied natural gas terminal in Freeport, Texas, on June 8. (Still from video via the park's Facebook page.) 

Date on which an explosion at a liquefied natural gas export facility 60 miles south of Houston in Freeport, Texas, sparked a fire that emitted toxic pollutants, including carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, and volatile organic compounds: 6/8/2022

Number of minutes the fire at Freeport LNG burned before being extinguished: 40

Days the facility expects to be completely closed before resuming partial operations, with a full reopening set for later this year: 90

Year Black residents of Freeport were forced to relocate to what the city called a “Negro reservation” in the East End community, now encircled by Port Freeport, one of the nation's fastest-growing deepwater ports and home to the Freeport LNG terminal and other polluting petrochemical facilities: 1930

Year in which the Texas Department of State Health Services' Environmental Surveillance and Toxicology Branch and the Texas Cancer Registry began surveying cancer rates in Freeport because of concerns about the health effects of industrial pollution: 2010

Number of cancer types the survey found occurring in Freeport above the range of what's expected based on Texas cancer rates, and below, respectively: 4, 1*

Percent interest Dow Chemical purchased in Freeport LNG in 2004, when it was still an import terminal: 15

Year that the U.S. Department of Energy authorized Dow to export LNG — supercooled methane — from the terminals owned and operated by Freeport LNG: 2012

With the LNG exports green lighted, year Port Freeport began widening shipping channels to accommodate the giant tankers that transport oil and gas — and in doing so began displacing Black residents: 2014

Month in which the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties agreed to consider a civil rights complaint filed by East End residents against Port Freeport and the City of Freeport alleging they're being strong-armed out of their property to expedite the channel widening project: 2/2022

Year Freeport LNG began exporting overseas: 2019

Since then, number of enforcement actions taken against Freeport LNG by the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration: 4

Number of Gulf Coast LNG facilities that have faced more enforcement actions, with safety experts calling Freeport LNG's record “alarming": 0

Months before the June 2022 explosion that a spill of 100 gallons of triethylene glycol at Freeport LNG sent an employee to the hospital: 1

Estimated year of completion of Freeport LNG's fourth “train,” the industry term for liquefaction and purification facilities: 2028

Number of residential communities within a half-mile of the new facility's property boundary: 3

Number of LNG export terminals currently under construction across the Gulf Coast region: 2

Number of LNG export terminals approved but not yet built along the Gulf Coast: 11 

Number of export projects currently seeking permits in the region: 21

Estimated social cost in 2019 for the climate-driven human harm and environmental damage from U.S. LNG exports: $8.1 billion

Estimated cost in 2030, when U.S. LNG exports are projected to be three times higher: $30.5 billion

* All-age liver and intrahepatic bile duct, lung, nasopharynx/nose/nasal cavity and middle ear, and stomach cancers occurred in Freeport at rates higher than what's expected in Texas, while the rate of all-age leukemias was lower than expected.

(Click on figure to go to source.)