WHEREAS, Louisiana Wildlife Federation (LWF) supported listing the Eastern Black Rail as federally threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 2018; and
WHEREAS, the Commonwealth LNG export terminal is currently sited for the west side of Calcasieu Pass at its mouth in an area of coastal Cameron Parish that has several liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals either built, planned or proposed to be sited, which would reduce or destroy critical wildlife habitat; and
WHEREAS, the facility’s proposed siting is particularly problematic to avian conservation because it would destroy the most important Eastern Black Rail habitat in Louisiana, providing for an estimated 30 Eastern Black Rails (Laterallus jamaicensis jamaicensis), or 1–3% of the entire threatened population based on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service data, and degrade additional Eastern Black Rail habitat around it; and
WHEREAS, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Species Status Assessment Report identifies habitat fragmentation and conversion as a primary threat to the population viability of this wetland dependent bird; and
WHEREAS, only one Black Rail nest has ever been found in western Gulf Coast high marsh despite thousands of field hours by expert ornithologists spent in suitable habitat, such that mitigation and avoidance recommendations are untenable; and
WHEREAS, because all proposed Eastern Black Rail impact mitigation plans are unrealistic, untested, and unworkable; and
WHEREAS, Audubon Delta ranks the proposed siting of Commonwealth LNG as the most devastating to the Endangered Species Act, Eastern Black Rail, and migratory birds among all LNG sites proposed in Louisiana; and
WHEREAS, this project would destroy dozens of acres of coastal cheniers, critical as stopover sites for Neotropical migratory birds; and
WHEREAS, the state has invested $16.4 million in restoring nearby Rabbit Island for thousands of nesting Brown Pelicans and millions of dollars in coastal restoration within ten miles of the site; and
WHEREAS, the cumulative effect of several LNG projects sited or proposed in the Calcasieu Pass vicinity alters not only critical habitat but also the overall coastal environment and access to recreational opportunities currently enjoyed by citizens; and
WHEREAS, Commonwealth LNG’s air permit application to Louisiana’s Department of Environmental Quality states that 3.5 million tons of greenhouse gases will be emitted each year, an amount that would take 4 million acres of forest to sequester; and
WHEREAS, in March 2022, LWF opposed granting of this air permit.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that Louisiana Wildlife Federation is opposed to the approval of the proposed project siting of Commonwealth LNG at the mouth of Calcasieu Pass due to compelling concerns about damage to the threatened Eastern Black Rail, wildlife habitat, and the coastal environment.
Adopted by the Louisiana Wildlife Federation in Convention Assembled on August 13, 2022 in Lafayette, Louisiana.