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Environmentalists urge French bank not to finance Texas fracking project



Rigging equipment is pictured in a field outside of Sweetwater, Texas. The French bank BNP Paribas has been urged not to support a fracking project in the state. Photograph: Cooper Neill/Reuters



The Guardian
By Tom Dart
Thursday 2 March 2017


Activist points to ‘hypocrisy’ in BNP Paribas’s involvement in south Texas export terminal, given bank’s claimed commitment to the environment


Environmental groups have called on a French bank not to help finance a fracked-gas export terminal planned for south Texas.

A report released on Wednesday urges BNP Paribas and its US subsidiary, Bank of the West, to state it will not finance any projects for liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals and to adopt a policy of not backing LNG export schemes. One of the proposals would be built on 1,000 acres of land, potentially making it the largest facility of its kind in the country.

“It’s a destructive fossil fuel infrastructure project in the Gulf coast in one of the relatively untouched parts,” said Jason Opeña Disterhoft of the Rainforest Action Network, of the plan known as Texas LNG.

He said there “is some hypocrisy” in BNP’s involvement given that the company touts its green credentials. In the wake of the 2015 Paris agreement to address climate change, the bank said it was committed to responsible investment, such as financing renewable energy rather than coalmining, and minimising atmospheric pollution as a result of its business activities.

France banned fracking in 2011 for environmental protection reasons. A spokeswoman for BNP’s US operation declined to comment on the report. Texas LNG did not respond to a request for comment.

Rebekah Hinojosa, an activist fighting the terminals, fears that construction would damage sacred Native American historical sites, harm endangered wildlife, tourism and the local shrimping industry and pollute and scar a relatively unscathed part of the coast, as well as threaten safety in the event of a disaster. Though proponents tout potential economic benefits for a deprived area, Hinojosa is concerned that the projects may ultimately cost more jobs than they create….



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