Monday, February 23, 2015


By David Robledo
Ft. Worth Weekly
I’m kayaking the bay that separates Port Isabel and South Padre Island when a large dorsal fin breaks the water. Another fin surfaces, and several more. My heart skips a few beats.
 And it looks like I’m surrounded … by one of the Lone Star State’s most lovable economic resources, a tribe of bottle-nose dolphins that inhabit Dolphin Cove, a rocky and deep sanctuary that slopes to the Port of Brownsville’s 45-foot-deep cargo-ship channel. Hundreds of sightseers visit this cove each summer day, hoping to get a glimpse of these animals that live at the southernmost tip of Texas’ most-visited beach.
The dolphins seem happy and ready to play. Anglers wade a few yards away on a sandy shelf that quickly drops off to become the cove’s edge. One fisherman hooks a fighter as I paddle past him.
There aren’t many places in the world where people can be surrounded by archaic wildlife and habitat as they are on this beach that helps etch the United States’ southwestern boundary. There are even fewer such places juxtaposed with notable restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and hotel and condominium rentals like those of South Padre Island.
The combination of natural attractions and first-world amenities has been a lucrative one on this island, which leads the state in per capita revenues generated by regular tourism, nature tourism, sport-fishing, and hotel-motel taxes. These revenues are hugely important to the economic zone that the island is a part of, a region that routinely posts the nation’s highest poverty rate.
Precisely because this area is poor, corporations that want to ship liquefied natural gas from the port of Brownsville — the Valley’s largest city and the nation’s poorest of its size — have found eager audiences for their sales pitch about the jobs and prosperity that their industry could bring. Government agencies and quasi-public corporations have already spent millions, and plan to spend upward of a billion dollars, to create infrastructure here for LNG development, including a power plant, a pipeline, a deepened ship channel, and highway spurs.
But those job-creation claims appear to be overblown, and while the LNG locomotive is picking up steam, authorities and industry spokespeople are sidestepping the question of damage to the environment and to the existing tourism economy that could far outlast any jobs that will be created.
If the public entities involved were to take the money they are spending to underwrite LNG export development and simply give it to the 1,000 or so employees who might end up with semi-permanent jobs, those workers would be millionaires.
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Anonymous said...

It would be nice if Mr. Robledo knew what he was talking about.

Anonymous said...

false promises
look at what happened to ESCO
they build up tye place and took out a loan
they couldnt pay

lets keep Padre Beautiful
dont trust these outsiders