Want energy, will pollute

Published: Saturday 15 January 2005

Uncle Sam's unquenchable thirst for energy now threatens Ensenada, a Mexican town by the sea. Located on the Baja California peninsula, Ensenada houses rare seals, sea birds and fish. It has a growing tourism industry. But a recent government decision permitting California-based Sempra Energy's (se) huge liquefied natural gas (lng) import terminal in the town has raised environmental concerns. What's worse, ChevronTexaco (ct), a North American dealer of refined products, also plans a terminal nearby.

The project's supporters say Mexico can now buy a cheaper fuel compared to the us gas. But locals believe most of the lng will be sent to California. "We are worried about safety too: accidents and terrorism," says Cristina Imana, an environmentalist. The companies claim they will protect the environment. se president Donald Felsinger also says that half the imported gas will stay in Baja California. "We will sell Baja every molecule it can buy," says Carl Attah, ct 's Mexico vice president. However, no written pact exists in this regard.

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