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For Immediate Release

Press Release

Shell Abandons Driftwood LNG After Tellurian’s Failed Billion Dollar Bond Sale, Project Now On Shaky Grounds

WASHINGTON -

Today, news broke that Shell and Vitol dropped their investments in Tellurian Inc’s Driftwood LNG, one of the largest fracked gas export terminals proposed in Southwest Louisiana (SWLA). Shell’s announcement comes just days after Tellurian Inc.’s failed $1 billion bond sale, plunging stock in the project by 24%. This news is celebrated by community leaders and environmental advocates who’ve been organizing against Driftwood LNG for its threats to public health, the regional environment, and global climate.

Driftwood LNG started site preparation in April 2022 without having reached a Final Investment Decision. The Calcasieu River in SWLA is one of the most industrialized regions in the country. There are already three operational LNG export terminals in Southwest Louisiana, and that number is supposed to increase to around 10, including Driftwood LNG. Community members have voiced serious concerns with Driftwood LNG regarding their pollution impacts on their health, safety from risks of explosions, and their local environment. Sierra Club and Healthy Gulf also filed a lawsuit in July 2022 challenging the Army Corps of Engineers' Section 404 permit for the facility as failing to avoid and compensate for impacts to wetlands, as required under the Clean Water Act.

Driftwood LNG has secured a $2.4 billion 10-year industrial tax exemption from the Calcasieu Parish School Board and Police Jury. The State of Louisiana also signed off on the tax exemption for the facility, though it was projected to only create 300 permanent jobs, according to the Louisiana Economic Development Secretary. Meanwhile, many Southwest Louisiana residents note that their schools, public infrastructure, and hurricane recovery programs are critically underfunded.

“Like most of the country, Southwest Louisiana has experienced record-high energy bills directly related to the enormous amount of natural gas that is already being exported to other countries. Our food and electricity bills soar while gas companies make record profits. We can not afford any more of these facilities: to our health, our coast, and our pocketbooks,” said James Hiatt, Southwest Louisiana Coordinator with Louisiana Bucket Brigade. “We are still recovering from record-breaking natural disasters caused by our collective dependence on fossil fuels. Invest in SWLA - just not in more destructive and dangerous fossil fuel projects. Driftwood riskily began construction before the financing was even secured, and now are reaping results. Damaging our coasts and livelihoods for the profits of the few is a fool’s errand.”

“While the fight is not over, this is hopeful news. Driftwood LNG has one of the biggest tax breaks only to come and pollute our neighborhoods while our communities in Southwest Louisiana continue to be neglected. Just today I spoke with FEMA representatives who said that over 500 people will have to vacate their FEMA trailers next month, even though these families still haven’t fully recovered from the destruction from Hurricanes Laura and Delta. Our priorities are backwards; we should be putting people first, not big polluters,” said Roishetta Ozane, founder of the Vessel Project and Southwest Louisiana Organizing Director with Healthy Gulf. “From tax breaks to pollution and now to these recent financial downswings, we have all the evidence we need to understand that Driftwood will be a parasite on Southwest Louisiana. It’s time that our public officials and the banks that support this awful project finally pull the plug on Driftwood.”

“It has been clear from the beginning that Tellurian’s Driftwood project is a bad investment. Tellurian has led investors on a roller coaster of reckless gambles and abrupt changes for years, burning through hundreds of millions in investor cash and yielding abysmal results,” said Adele Shraiman, Representative for Sierra Club’s Fossil Free Finance Campaign. “Their newest offering promised massive risk and very little stability for investors, so it’s not surprising that investors have backed away from this deal. Driftwood LNG also faces several legal challenges and community opposition, so its financial future is tenuous at best. Banks and investors would be wise to reconsider support for other reckless LNG expansion projects.”

“I’m relieved that this project may not happen as planned. We don’t need more LNG export terminals. I just want people to be able to enjoy the land and water without the blight of industry, and all the pollution they impose on our communities,” said Natalie McLendon, a resident of Southwest Louisiana.

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