Engagement in the communities where we live and work is paramount for building trust, transparency, partnerships and nourishing relationships. And that’s just what we’re doing in the Rio Grande Valley through two-way communication opportunities.
On April 13, 2023, nearly 200 community members and leaders from 15 cities between Houston and South Padre Island attended a series of open houses in Port Isabel, Texas, to learn about the Rio Grande LNG (RGLNG) project.
“We want to foster open and transparent dialogue between the RGLNG project and stakeholders, improve stakeholder relationships, address concerns swiftly and effectively, and facilitate learning,” said Andrea Benton, Head of Community Relations.
Breaking it down
The session included stations staffed by NextDecade team members including our engineering, procurement and construction firm partner, Bechtel. The information stations collectively outlined our Rio Grande LNG project’s intentions and goals, safety approach and community impacts and potential employment opportunities.
This informal approach provided attendees an opportunity to choose topics about which they were most interested, watch short overview videos, and pick up printed material. Community members were also able to engage in one-on-one conversations with our subject matter experts and ask questions.
Mike Walters, Senior Director of Transport and Storage for NEXT Carbon Solutions, said the most insightful piece of feedback he received was that “community residents were asking how they could help. The support is profound among the portion supporting us at present. It’s exciting to think how that will look in the future.”
Tony Cooper, Senior Director for Operational Readiness, said one of the things that intrigued him during the sessions was “the education administration that is interested in starting high school education courses related to LNG specifically,” and that it is a welcome opportunity.
It’s all about education
There was no shortage of curiosity or questions during the sessions. Most attendees were enthusiastic about what the project means for potential economic development, training and education opportunities for current and future generations.
“Brownsville community members are genuinely excited for our project to arrive,” said Alejandro Rodriguez, Senior Analyst for Digital and Corporate Communications. “More than once, I would mention potential economic benefits to the area and an attendee would say they had seen how this sort of project in other areas transform a community for the better.”
Attendees represented the following Rio Grande Valley and surrounding communities
- Corpus Christi
- Laguna Vista
- Los Fresnos
- Port Isabel
- San Benito
- South Padre Island