U.S Government officials and Greenpeace survey potential damage to Mexican wildlife islands earmarked for Gas Plant

Press release - 8 September, 2004
State policymakers and legislators from California today travelled with Greenpeace to the proposed site of ChevronTexaco's liquid natural gas (LNG) facilities on the Coronado Islands. Located off the Baja California Coast of Mexico, the islands are an important habitat for wildlife; home to one of the most diverse seabird colonies, gray whales and harbor seals. All face devastation from the construction of a LNG terminal.

The Greenpeace ship, MV Arctic Sunrise, and a research vessel set off from Ensenada, Mexico and San Diego this morning with the Mexican and U.S. delegations respectively, to survey the islands. U.S. state officials discussed the issues and concerns with expert naturalists and engineers on board.

"The LNG facilities pose severe environmental and safety risks. Mexico's coastal treasures should not be sacrificed for California's energy consumption. The truth is California does not need LNG. ChevronTexaco must invest in clean energy like wind and solar," said Greenpeace U.S Energy Specialist John Coequyt.

This tour coincides with the release of a new report produced by Greenpeace 'Liquid Natural Gas: A roadblock to a clean energy future'. The report provides the first comprehensive analysis of why LNG is unsafe, unnecessary and unjust. Greenpeace is asking Californian policy makers not to commit the state to long-term contracts to LNG from either Mexico or California. In addition, it recommends that multinational companies and the Governments of California and Mexico invest in clean energy technologies, like wind and solar power, creating good jobs without risking the public's health and safety.

"Mexico's renewable energy potential is currently underused and completely ignored as the Mexican Government rushes to embrace the wishes of multinational companies like ChevronTexaco, Shell, and Sempra," said Arturo Moreno, Greenpeace Mexico Campaigner.

In 2003, the Mexican National Congress proposed that a Natural Protected Area be created that includes the Coronados. However, as the islands have yet to receive this official protection status and with an LNG project looming, Greenpeace and Conservacion de Islas placed a plaque on the island declaring it a Natural Protected Area.

The 2001-2006 Energy Plan and the National Development Plan never indicated that LNG would be part of Mexico's energy portfolio. State and federal governments however are not adhering to their plans and are now advocating for rapid approval for LNG. Currently, Mexico produces enough energy for its own needs and can meet future demands through investment in renewables; therefore the proposed LNG facilities in Baja California are unnecessary, only benefiting corporate business, predominantly in the U.S.

"We are at a crossroads in determining the fate of California's energy future. I believe the responsibility of the California Public Utilities Commission is to get the facts straight about the environmental, economic, and operational impacts of LNG before making profound changes to California's energy policies in order to facilitate LNG," says Commissioner Loretta Lynch. Commissioner Lynch was joined by Drew Bohan, California EPA, CEC Commissioner Jim Boyd among others.

VVPR info: Photographs available from +1 202 421 3720'Liquid Natural Gas: A roadblock to a clean energy future' is available from www.greenpeaceusa.org/reports/lng'Gas Natural Licuado: El fin de la independencia energética' is available fromwww.greenpeace.org.mx