BY Nubia Reyna | The Rider
More than eight people, including UTRGV students, gathered Friday to protest on the Brownsville campus against the NextDecade, LLC partnership with the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.
The protesters want to stop the agreement that was signed by UTRGV President Guy Bailey. Under the agreement, the university and NextDecade may investigate cooperation initiatives to achieve the goals. The initiatives include promoting opportunities for applied research, education, training and installations at the Port of Brownsville, UTRGV and the ND projects and encouraging development of internship programs within the energy, engineering and technology industries.
“President Guy Bailey signed up to support it. As students, this is going to affect the way we are being represented as a university,” said Julissa Roman, sophomore and president of Environmental Awareness Club. “It shows a lot about how we are not put into thought about decision-makings on campus.”
Roman also said around 80 people on Facebook interested in the protest.
“We’ve been planning it for two weeks. … This is really urgent to us,” she said.
Club Vice President Marisol Cervantes said they want to bring awareness to the students of the risks of having liquefied natural gas in the community.
“Students should have a voice,” Cervantes said.
As previously reported by The Rider, NextDecade announced on Sept. 7 that the U.S. Energy Department authorized the export of liquefied natural gas from its proposed Rio Grande LNG facility to Free Trade Agreement countries.
UTRGV sophomore Cesar Rios said students should be able to stop big companies from controlling what is going to happen with liquefied natural gas.
“We all have to be aware of what they are trying to bring into the Valley, the dangers that can come with LNG, the pipelines that they want to build, the doors that it can open for more factories,” Rios said.
Yelena Cisneros, a Texas Southmost College sophomore, also took part in the protest.
“If you were to look at other examples from other cities such as New Mexico and you see a lot of documentaries from LNG … you are going to see that LNG affects people’s health and environment,” Cisneros said. “When people start getting sick and finally realize this company is not for our benefit, it’s going to be too late. We shouldn’t trust these people and we should be concerned more about our environment.”
Roman said: “It is going to affect all the Rio Grande Valley. This is home.”