PORT ST JOE, Fla. (WMBB) — A company named Nopetro is allegedly interested in building a liquefied natural gas plant in Port St Joe.
“This is north Port Saint Joe, that’s Route 98 so this is just a couple of hundred feet away from where people live and where there are businesses,” Public Citizen Director of Energy Program Tyson Slocum said.
Public Citizen is in the process of suing FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. FERC approved a request from Nopetro that exempts them from being under the jurisdiction of FERC.
Slocum said that’s a huge concern when considering the environmental implications of the plant, many residents agreed.
“That pollution you can’t get around it, that’s what it’s gonna do,” a gentleman said. “They cut some off in Louisiana because it would ruin a community like this.”
Slocum said the pollution will come from the flare-ups during the liquidation process. He said the proposal will require liquefied natural gas to be taken from the plant down to vessels.
That creates another controversy.
“There are going to be flare-ups of certain aspects of the process, now there’s going to be a lot of heavy truck traffic,” Slocum said.
Several residents expressed concerns about vessel usage.
“The dredging would require taking the sediment that’s been deposited by the old paper mill plant that had toxins you know, waste toxins, and in the holding ponds that they had at the paper mill so once you dredge that up, there’s no way to contain it,” a gentleman said.
One resident believes city and county officials have been slacking in their protocol.
“It just really bothers me that none of this has been open and with all the things going on in our community, they have hidden so much information that we don’t know in,” a woman said.
Gulf County Attorney Jeremy Novak said communication is being encouraged.
“In terms of communications, this has been ongoing for many years, I think it’s continuing,” Novak said. “Commissioner, right over here, you have city officials back there in the back of the room. I think this is part of the process. So I thank you for coming. I think it’s important that that letter represent exactly what the request was, that they want to continue this dialog with everyone involved.”
Some in attendance said they plan to make phone calls and contact officials to continue the conversation about the LNG plant.
No official decision has been made if the plant will or will not be built.