Target: Craig O’Connor, Office of Renewable Energy & Environmental Exports, US Export-Import Bank
Goal: Protect the Great Barrier Reef from destructive industrial projects being financed with US taxpayer dollars.
Energy companies in Australia want to build two massive liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminals on Curtis Island, in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. Construction of the projects would require dredging delicate coral reef ecosystems, while ships traveling to and from the terminals would pose a collision hazard for endangered sea turtles. Yet the Australian government has already granted approval for the LNG terminals, and now US taxpayers are being asked to finance them.
The US Export-Import Bank, which is a federal agency funded by taxpayers, has agreed to loan $5 billion to help finance the Curtis Island LNG facilities. This is despite the fact that the Obama administration recently directed the Export-Import Bank to stop funding high-carbon fossil fuel projects like coal plants. Though an LNG terminal is not a coal plant, it is nearly as bad from a climate change perspective. Natural gas is still a fossil fuel – and because LNG from the terminals would likely be transported across long distances before being burned in other countries, emissions from the fuel used to power LNG tankers has to be factored into the projects’ carbon footprints.
Fortunately, environmental groups including the US-based Center for Biological Diversity, and Australia’s Turtle Island Restoration Network, are suing the US Export-Import Bank over its decision to fund the two LNG terminals, hoping to stop them in court. However, the bank also needs to hear that ordinary people are outraged over its financing of LNG terminals in the Great Barrier Reef. Sign the petition below to urge the US Export-Import Bank to cease its funding of these destructive projects.
Dear Mr. O’Connor,
We, the undersigned, are writing to express our concerns about the US Export-Import Bank’s decision to finance two liquefied natural gas terminals on Curtis Island, Australia. These massive industrial facilities would be built in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, which is home to delicate coral reef ecosystems and endangered species like sea turtles. A project like this would almost certainly not be allowed in such an ecologically sensitive area, if the builders were applying for permits within the United States. The Export-Import Bank shouldn’t fund projects abroad that do not meet the environmental standards we use here at home.
Further, funding the Curtis Island LNG projects is inconsistent with the Export-Import Bank’s recent move to shift away from financing projects that add to climate change. The process of making, transporting, and burning liquefied natural gas is an energy-intensive activity that gives LNG a life cycle carbon footprint nearly equivalent to that of coal. With the US moving to curb our contribution to climate change, taxpayer dollars should not be going to fund such a high-carbon project.
We urge you to do the right thing for taxpayers and the planet, and use your influence within the Export-Import Bank to halt financing of the Curtis Island LNG terminals.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Roger Braunstein via Flickr