Our Texas communities, and others all around the world, are under assault. There is no debate. The fossil fuel industry is poisoning our air and water, and changing our climate in ways that threaten our survival.
With the future of our families and millions of others at stake, it’s time to start calling out the companies and people responsible – especially when they're also driving up bills for Texans by selling our oil and gas to the highest foreign bidder.
Make no mistake: the Terrible 12 are only a few of the worst fossil fuel profiteers in Texas. But these dirty dozen oil and gas exporters have distinguished themselves by ignoring the pleas of communities whose survival they put at risk, and jeopardizing the livability of our entire planet in pursuit of fat profits for their executives and shareholders.
Few are household names, but our plan is to help give them some of the infamy they richly deserve. If you’ve got info on these polluters or projects that we don’t, share it with us!
Houston-based Cheniere operates the Sabine Pass LNG facility near Port Arthur, the largest LNG terminal in the United States; and Corpus Christi LNG, located on the La Quinta Channel in San Patricio County. In 2016, Cheniere became the first U.S. exporter of methane gas. Today it is the largest U.S. LNG exporter, and the second largest globally. Cheniere was founded by Charif Souki, now Executive Chairman of Tellurian, and is currently led by CEO Jack Fusco. Cheniere’s Corpus facility has a long history of violating air pollution standards, and in 2021 its Sabine Pass facility was fined $2.2 million by federal regulators over a gas leak resulting from improper operations. Despite 2022 reported revenue of $33 billion (more than double its 2021 figure), Cheniere has received at least $857 million in state tax abatements. In 2022, CEO Jack Fusco infamously noted that the destabilization of the European LNG market following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine delivers “tailwinds for our business.”
Enbridge is a multinational fossil fuel pipeline company headquartered in Alberta, Canada, and operates a massive system of pipelines throughout Canada and the United States. The company reported 2022 revenue of $41 billion and is led by CEO Al Monaco and Texas-based Board Chairman Gregory Ebel. Enbridge has one of the worst safety records of any major pipeline company, including responsibility for the largest inland oil spill in U.S. history. Enbridge has earned its position of dishonor among the Terrible12 as a partner in the proposed deepwater Sea Port Oil Terminal off the coast of Brazoria County; by building and operating the Rio Bravo pipeline to transport methane gas to the proposed Rio Grande LNG project near Brownsville; and by operating the Moda Ingleside Energy Center, the continent’s largest crude oil export hub near Corpus Christi. With a long history of trampling on Indigenous lands and rights, Enbridge faces fervent opposition in Corpus Christi from the Karankawa Kadla Tribe and allies, who have organized protests to stop the expansion of the company's export terminal onto ancestral lands.
Headquartered in Dallas and led by billionaire CEO Kelcy Warren, Energy Transfer is most notorious nationally for its plan to build the Dakota Access Pipeline that resulted in historic protests in 2018. In 2021, Pennsylvania officials announced 48 criminal charges against the company for inappropriately discharging industrial waste in violation of state law, including a felony count for willfully failing to report a spill. In Texas, Energy Transfer is infamous for price-gouging methane gas during the 2021 Winter Storm Uri blackouts, earning $2.4 billion in a matter of days; soon after, CEO Kelcy Warren gave a $1 million campaign contribution to Texas Governor Greg Abbott. Gulf Coast communities also know Energy Transfer as the company behind the Blue Marlin project, a proposed deepwater crude oil export terminal 99 miles off the coast of Port Arthur fed by a pipeline running through Sabine Lake. If built, the Blue Marlin project would put Gulf Coast communities and ecosystems at risk, including oyster reefs and fisheries. Energy Transfer’s 2022 revenue was reported as $89 billion.
Headquartered in Houston, Enterprise Products, led by co-CEOs Randall Fowler and A.J. “Jim” Teague, reported 2022 of revenue of $55 billion. The company owns or operates over 50,000 miles of oil and gas pipelines, and has a long history of pipeline-related incidents, including major spills and explosions. Like Energy Transfer, Enterprise Products also became notorious in Texas for price-gouging its utility customers during Winter Storm Uri in 2021, with CPS Energy of San Antonio claiming that the company had inflated its methane gas prices by as much as 12,000% during the crisis. In partnership with fellow Terrible12 dishonoree Enbridge, Enterprise Products is also behind the proposed deepwater Sea Port Oil Terminal, which would be located 35 miles off the coast of Surfside Beach. The project, which also includes 50 miles of new crude oil pipelines and would be capable of loading supertankers with up to 2 million barrels of crude oil per day, is the focus of intense ongoing opposition from community groups and environmental advocates concerned about the potential negative impacts on the climate, air and water quality, and coastal ecosystems.
Freeport LNG is the company behind the facility of the same name, one of the world’s largest liquified methane gas export facilities located on Quintana Island in Brazoria County. Originally built in 2008 to import and regasify LNG, the site was converted to an export facility in 2019, making Freeport LNG one of the earliest exporters of U.S. methane gas. Headquartered in Houston, Freeport LNG is led by CEO Michael Smith, who owns more than 60% of the company, and has received tax abatements totaling at least $634 million. Residents of Quintana Island and nearby Freeport have long opposed Freeport LNG and its proposed expansions based on concerns about chronic community health problems with suspected links to the facility, the impact on Brazoria County wetlands and habitat for migratory birds and endangered species, and fears about public safety. The latter proved fateful in June 2022 after a massive explosion and 450-feet-high fireball terrified neighbors and shut down the facility for more than six months. While Freeport LNG has been approved by regulators to resume operations, it was revealed at a recent public hearing that damage from the explosion still hasn't been repaired, and that the cause of blast was improper management and operation.
Headquartered in Houston, Max Midstream was launched in 2020 with the goal of transforming the Port of Calhoun near Point Comfort into a major crude oil export hub. The Port of Calhoun subsequently floated $120 million in bonds to help finance the proposed project, which until recently included a catastrophic plan to dredge deeper shipping lanes through Matagorda Bay, including through an underwater Superfund site contaminated with mercury. Fortunately, in response to a lawsuit filed by a coalition of Gulf Coast community leaders and environmental groups, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently withdrew its prior approval for the dredging project pending an extensive additional environmental review. Founded by Houston real estate developer Todd Edwards, Max Midstream and other fossil fuel companies led by Edwards and British financier Azad Cola have been dogged by an onslaught of seemingly well-deserved lawsuits alleging fraud, forgery, nonpayment and breach of contract, including a $38 million suit by the project’s main contractor at the Port of Calhoun.
NextDecade, headquartered in Houston, is led by CEO and Board Chairman Matt Schatzman, a career fossil fuel executive and member of the National Petroleum Council. NextDecade is the developer of the proposed Rio Grande LNG project, planned to occupy 900+ acres along the Brownsville Ship Channel in Cameron County, 10 miles east of Brownsville. While a final investment decision (FID) was originally planned for late 2019, the project has been repeatedly delayed. If built, Rio Grande LNG would be the second largest methane gas export terminal in North America, and emit more than 6.4 million tons of greenhouse gases each year. In addition to being the largest polluter in the entire Rio Grande Valley region, the project would also jeopardize the local shrimping and fishing economy, damage federal wildlife refuges, imperil numerous endangered species, and destroy pristine lands sacred to the Carrizo Comecrudo Tribe of South Texas. The project’s proposed 140-mile gas pipeline would also threaten families along the route with the risk of spills and explosions.
Based in San Diego, Sempra is the company behind the Port Arthur LNG project, an enormous proposed methane gas liquefaction and export terminal in Jefferson County. Sempra is also one of the partner companies operating the Cameron LNG facility located near the southwest Louisiana town of Hackberry, straddling the boundary between Calcasieu and Cameron Parish. Local leaders and environmental groups believe the Cameron LNG facility is releasing hundreds of thousands of pounds of excess emissions of dangerous pollutants, including the carcinogenic benzene. Sempra’s extremely checkered history in its home state of California includes being sued over claims that it manipulated gas supplies and electricity contracts during the California electricity crisis. The company ultimately paid $377 million to settle gas supply claims, and another $410 million to settle electricity price gouging claims. Sempra, with 2022 reported revenue of $14.8 billion, is led by Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Martin, while the company’s Texas LNG operations are led by John Sowers.
With offices in Richardson and Houston, Sentinel Midstream is the “first-class” (ugh) fossil fuel company behind the proposed Texas Gulflink project. Another deepwater crude oil export terminal designed to service massive supertankers, Texas Gulflink would be located 30 miles offshore from Freeport, and receive crude oil from proposed storage tanks near Jones Creek via a new 40-mile-long pipeline. The project has generated significant opposition both locally and nationally, with more than 27,000 comments submitted to the Biden Administration expressing concerns about the potential impact of a spill. At risk are nearby wetlands, the Brazos River Watershed – a drinking water supply for thousands of people – and of course the waters of the Gulf itself. The proposed 700,000-barrel storage tanks near Jones Creek would also subject residents to around-the-clock carcinogenic emissions. Founded in 2018, the company is led by CEO Jeff Ballard, CFO Blair Matthews, and COO Brad Ramsey.
Yet another proposed methane gas processing and export terminal, Texas LNG, located on a 625-acre site at the Port of Brownsville, is project of the New York-based Glenfarne Group and its Houston subsidiary, led by CEO Vivek Chandra and COO Langtry Meyer. Construction of the Texas LNG project would bulldoze pristine lands near South Padre Island to build pipelines, storage tanks, and flare stacks or ground flares that would pollute nearby communities and destroy habitat for the endangered ocelot. Texas LNG would also destroy a federally-recognized indigenous historical site, Garcia Pasture, with burial grounds and village remains that are sacred to the Carrizo Comecrudo Tribe of Texas. The facility would be built about a mile from the City of Port Isabel and near other Laguna Madre communities, which have been actively fighting the project. Opponents have successfully challenged some of Texas LNG’s federal permits in court, and persuaded international bank BNP Paribas to withdraw project funding.
Trafigura was founded by former partners of Marc Rich, the infamous international commodities trader who was indicated in the U.S. on charges of tax evasion, racketeering, and making oil deals with Iran during the hostage crisis. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the company has been named in a broad range of international scandals over its nearly 30-year history. Trafigura earns its spot among the Terrible12 by partnering to develop the proposed (and grotesquely misnamed) Bluewater Texas deepwater crude oil export terminal, planned for 15 miles off the coast of Aransas County. Bluewater’s draft air pollution permit would allow the project to emit more cancer-causing compounds than any other polluter in the country. In addition to the risk that oil spills could damage coastal waters and communities, the project’s pipelines would cross Redfish Bay, threatening large seagrass beds that act as a natural carbon sink and provide critical habitat to aquatic life. Trafigura, with 2022 reported revenue of $318 billion, is headquarted in Singapore and led by CEO Jeremy Weir, with North American operations managed out of Houston by former BP Executive Corey Prologo.
Headquartered in Arlington, Virginia and led by founders and Co-Chairmen Michael Sabel and Robert Pender, Venture Global is the company behind the Calcasieu Pass LNG, CP2 LNG, and Plaquemines LNGexport facilites in Louisiana. At the Calcasieu Pass facility in Cameron Parish, where Venture Global is currently pursuing an expansion, neighbors describe frequent flaring of gases, indicating that the company has filed to file required excess emissions reports with state regulators, and raising serious health concerns among local residents. At the under-construction Plaquemines LNG facility south of New Orleans, environmental groups have recently sued the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources for exempting Venture Global from requiring a state environmental permit, noting that the facility would destroy nearly 400 acres of wetlands that serve as a storm buffer, increasing the hurricane risk for predominantly Black and indigenous communities, homes, businesses and farmlands. The suit additionally included a marine science report indicating a significant risk of levee failure and flood waters inundating the Plaquemines LNG site, polluting adjacent wetlands with petrochemicals, damaging water quality, severely compromising coastal wetlands, and endangering the lives and livelihoods of residents – in other words, as per the report’s author, “a recipe for catastrophe.”