PORT ST. JOE, Fla (WMBB) — On Monday, the liquid natural gas (LNG) company Nopetro announced they will no longer pursue building a plant on the site of the old paper mill “purely due to market condition.”
The announcement comes after months of pushback from both Port St. Joe and Gulf County residents.
“I think it’s a real testament to the incredible organizing by the people of Port Saint Joe,” Energy Program Director for Washington DC-based think tank Public Citizen, Tyson Slocum said. “Once they started to learn about what had been negotiated behind closed doors, they rose up in very clear opposition to building an LNG export terminal.”
Several hundred Port St. Joe residents attended community meetings where they voiced their opposition to the plant.
“We develop a mill that was harmful to this community,” Longtime Port St Joe Resident Chester Davis said. “And to put another gas plant in here, that we think or based upon the history, will be just as harmful.”
The land in question is owned by The St. Joe Company.
At the May shareholder’s meeting CEO Jorge Gonzalez said the public got the wrong impression.
“We never signed a lease with them,” Gonzalez said. “We issued a license agreement for them to do their due diligence. We extended the license agreement a couple of times, and they finally came to us and they said they’ve completed their due diligence and they’re not moving forward with the project at this time. So the license agreement expired.”
In an email to News 13 Port St. Joe’s Mayor Rex Buzzett said elected officials hope to put the matter behind them.
“This issue has divided our City for two years,” Buzzett wrote. “It is our intention to continue moving forward on current and future projects for the betterment of all our citizens.”
Port St. Joe residents said they will keep watching Nopetro, in case marketing conditions become favorable in the future.
In the meantime, they said they’d like to see a green industry locate on the old mill property.