When Profit Trumps Lives: The Tragic Explosion at Freeport LNG

Abel Prado


July 24, 2023

Gulf Coast LNG Protest

Working in the climate action space is a unique experience for many reasons. On the one hand, you’re working on what is perhaps the most important issue to ever face mankind; on the other, you have a chorus of people telling you to give it a rest. This couldn’t be made clearer than it was in June when I worked on a collaboration with Better Brazoria Clean Air and Water that led us to Freeport, Texas, the home of Freeport LNG. There, we witnessed firsthand the devastating impact that an LNG facility can have on a community, all for the sake of profit. The explosion that shook the facility a year ago was a clear and tragic testament to the callousness with which corporate interests often prevail over the lives and well-being of everyday people.

The explosion that tore through the Freeport LNG facility sent shockwaves through the community, leaving behind a trail of destruction and loss. As the dust settled, we were left grappling with the bitter truth—the facility’s chronic understaffing had played a major role in the tragedy that unfolded. The damage caused was a chilling reminder of the high price we pay when corporations prioritize profit over the safety of their workers and the communities they inhabit.

Fueled by a burning sense of injustice, we took our message of accountability and change directly to the Freeport City Council. We stood before them, demanding answers, pleading for recognition, and refusing to be silenced any longer. Their apathy and indifference were evident in their silent stares, as if we were mere inconveniences in their path. But we were determined to make them see us, to make them feel the weight of our collective outrage.

In that pivotal moment, we became the voice for the voiceless—the workers who had been put in harm’s way, and the community left scarred and battered. We carried their stories, their pain, and their hopes for a better future, amplifying their cries for justice.

In collaboration with Better Brazoria Clean Air and Water, we orchestrated a powerful action in the heart of Freeport, Texas. We marched to city hall, banners held high, as our footsteps echoed with a resounding call for change. We spoke passionately, our voices carrying the weight of those affected by the explosion. We painted a vivid picture of the consequences that LNG facilities impose on air and water quality, shedding light on the dangers of understaffing and exposing the broken promises made by Freeport LNG.

Through our collective action, we ignited a spark of hope in the community. We showed them that they were not alone, that their voices mattered, and that together, we could demand justice and reclaim our power. We rallied behind the belief that no longer would corporations trample over the lives of ordinary people for the sake of profit. The tides were turning, and our unified front was an unstoppable force that would not be ignored.

While the Freeport City Council may have initially dismissed us, we refuse to be silenced or brushed aside. Our unwavering determination has not gone unnoticed. Our fight for justice has attracted the attention of local and national media, illuminating the darkness that has shrouded the Freeport LNG tragedy and demanding accountability from those in power.

Our journey toward climate justice is far from over, but with every step we take, we inch closer to a future where communities are no longer sacrificed for the interests of a few. We are driven by the passion and resilience of those we fight for—the workers, the families, and the community members who have suffered the consequences of corporate greed. Their stories fuel our fire and remind us of the urgency of our cause.

My experience as the State Director for Action for the Climate Emergency in Texas has been a powerful testament to the strength of collective action and the unyielding spirit of those who fight for climate justice. No longer will we accept silence and indifference from those in power. We will continue to amplify the voices of the marginalized and demand transparency and accountability from corporations like Freeport LNG. Together, we will forge a future where the health and well-being of communities take precedence over profit margins. Let our cry for justice be heard across the land as we fight for a sustainable world that leaves no one behind.

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Abel Prado

Texas State Director

Abel is the Texas State Director for ACE and has nearly a decade of experience in politics and organizing. He co-founded Cambio Texas, recognized by publications like the Huffington Post and Texas Monthly, and worked on over 75 campaigns. Abel brings a unique perspective on encouraging climate action in a hard-right state, and in his free time, he enjoys binge-watching TV shows and justifying his terrible eating habits.

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