For Immediate Release
Defenders of Wildlife Releases Report Detailing Consequences of Proposed Natural Gas Facilities on Ocelot Recovery
WASHINGTON (April 23, 2019) – Defenders of Wildlife has published a new report, Potential Impacts of Proposed Liquified Natural Gas Facilities on Ocelot Recovery in Texas, which details the effects three proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities in the Brownsville Ship Channel would have on the future of ocelot recovery in the United States.
The Brownsville Ship Channel is adjacent to the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, which supports one of the two last ocelot populations in the U.S. Each of the terminals would occupy more than 600 acres, destroying or altering habitat for endangered ocelot, Aplomado falcon and piping plover and effectively cutting off the wildlife corridor between the U.S. and Mexico.
Paul Sanchez-Navarro, senior Texas representative for Defenders of Wildlife, issued this statement:
“The ocelot is an iconic symbol of south Texas and these proposed liquefied natural gas facilities threaten their survival in the U.S. The LNG terminals would effectively block ocelots from crossing the Brownsville Ship Channel, the last remaining place connecting ocelot habitat north and south of the channel. Because of the severe consequences for the ocelot, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission should deny permits for the plants in this sensitive habitat.”
Rob Peters, senior Southwest representative for Defenders of Wildlife, issued this statement:
“Construction of these facilities will transform habitat for endangered ocelots into a dangerous industrial zone and would be a major setback for ocelot recovery in the United States. The 2018 final environmental impact statement for the Texas liquefied natural gas project states that the impacts on ocelot and jaguarundis from the plant would be ‘permanent and significant.’
“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has invested millions of dollars into ocelot conservation and building these facilities would make the ocelot recovery plan’s long-term goal of a permanent connection between the U.S. and Mexican populations impossible. Without this connection, recovery would require a huge additional investment in habitat protection in the U.S.”
- The ocelot was listed as an endangered species in 1972. The first recovery plan for the species was completed in 1990 and revised in 2016. The ocelot is considered endangered in Mexico by the Secretariat of the Environment and Natural Resources.
- The only known U.S. breeding populations are in south Texas near the border with Mexico. As of August 2015, there were 53 known Texas ocelots in two separate populations on remnant habitat, separated from each other by 20 miles.
- Each of the terminals would occupy more than 600 acres, destroying habitat for endangered ocelots, Aplomado falcons and piping plovers. The terminals would greatly increase human activity in or near ocelot habitat, including lights, noise and vehicle traffic, the greatest causes of death for U.S. ocelots.
- The magnitude of the harm done by destroying the only remaining possible corridor is underscored by what the 2016 Recovery Plan specifies as a remedy if the connection is severed—an additional population of at least 75 ocelots would need to be established in the U.S. and would require creating or preserving more than an additional 100,000 acres of habitat.
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