By Cyndi Sellers
The Cameron Parish Port Board met on Thursday, April 2, with seven members present plus the director, a reporter and one visitor, to comply with the Governor’s order concerning meeting size limits. Other board members and the District Attorney were invited to participate by teleconference.
The main purpose of the meeting was to receive a report from the committee which has been negotiating with Venture Global LNG regarding a possible 70 year lease of port property on Monkey Island and across the Calcasieu Ship Channel. The property is currently leased by Gulf Coast Development LLC, but that least is set to expire in 11 years.
Committee chairman Howard Romero said that negotiations have been ongoing for ten months, and he believes the result will be very beneficial for the Cameron Parish Port and the citizens of the entire parish. The details may not be made public until the final agreement is signed, under non-disclosure of confidential proprietary and trade secret information rules.
The Board voted to sign a letter of agreement with Venture Global for the remainder of the 70 year term, after the lease with Gulf Coast Development ends. Under a re-negotiated lease with Gulf Coast Development, signed March 28, 2017, the Port will receive 25% of any sub-lease secured by Gulf Coast Development during the term of Gulf Coast’s lease.
District Attorney Jennifer Jones said that she had reviewed the proposed lease as to its legality and possible legal consequences. She determined that it is legal, but had concerns about potential excavation on the property and whether it might create a “navigable waterway,” which could impact ownership. She recommended that the Port contact the State Land Office and the Attorney General’s office for verification that there will be no claim by the state in the future.
Romero said that he appreciated the comments m but in the interest of time and the restrictions of the coronavirus situation the committee decided to move forward with a letter of agreement. Both parties have 90 days to review.