County to delay vote on tax break for Annova LNG

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BROWNSVILLE, Texas – Another setback for LNG activists after commissioner’s court decides to delay the vote on a tax abatement for Annova LNG.

A large crowd today urging Cameron County leaders to vote against the tax break. They ask that the liquefied natural gas company pay appropriate taxes as one of the companies looking to settle at the Port of Brownsville.

Commissioners voted to table the discussion for a later date.

The following is a statement released by the local Sierra Club.

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This morning, the Cameron County Commissioner’s Court tabled a proposal for a tax abatement agreement for the Annova LNG project. Exelon, the Fortune 500 company with a 96% stake in the project, has requested the tax break from the county to build the fracked gas export facility in the Rio Grande Valley.* 

In 2015, Annova LNG requested a $25 million tax abatement from the county, which was tabled in the face of stiff public opposition. The amount requested of Cameron County in the current proposal has not been released to the public.

A new revision to Chapter 312 goes into effect on September 1 that would require more transparency for the community, including a 30-day notice for a public meeting, an open discussion of the abatement rather than close-door meetings, and a publicized agreement.

“Our county needs more revenue, not less. This tax cut deal faces significant public opposition because it would sell out our community’s health and safety for the benefit of a polluting corporation,” said Rebekah Hinojosa, Brownsville Organizer for the Sierra Club. “The Commission should reject this terrible deal once and for all.”

“We’re hopeful the Commissioners will process Annova’s application using the newly legislated revisions to the Chapter 312 requirements which will afford the community the additional transparency they are seeking,” said Maria Galasso, resident of Laguna Vista and member of the Save RGV from LNG Coalition. “Even with other controversial proposals on the agenda, more than half of the attendees in the courthouse today were there to speak out against the Annova LNG tax abatement. LNG just isn’t a good deal for Cameron County and the LNG tax abatements makes these projects even less attractive.”

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* Annova LNG sent this correction on the statement made by the local Sierra Club.

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“In the past year, Annova LNG has brought on additional investors, diversifying its ownership share. Exelon has a majority stake in the project, but no longer holds 96 percent ownership.”

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