A photo showing the site of the former St. Joe Paper Company Paper Mill, the proposed location of Nopetro Energy’s Port St. Joe LNG facility. [ Port of Port St. Joe ]
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Energy company decides to ‘no longer pursue’ local LNG project

A controversial liquified natural project that was proposed for construction in Port St. Joe will no longer be moving forward.

According to representatives from Nopetro Energy, the Miami-based energy company behind the proposed plant, progress on the project halted after market conditions were determined to be inhospitable late last year.

“In 2022, Nopetro Energy conducted due diligence on a site for a proposed natural gas plant in Port St. Joe. Many months ago, after completion of that process, Nopetro Energy decided to no longer pursue the opportunity, purely due to market conditions,” read a statement from Ed Hart, Nopetro’s senior vice president of supply.



“Nopetro continues to work with private and public sector clients across the country to deliver clean energy solutions and reduce their carbon footprint by ending dependence on petroleum.”

The proposed plant would have been constructed on land owned by the St. Joe Company just South of the George G. Tapper Bridge. It formerly housed the St. Joe Paper Company Paper Mill, which was demolished two decades ago. 

The St. Joe Company and Nopetro had worked out a license agreement for the project, which expired at the beginning of the year, according to transcripts available on the St. Joe Company’s website.

These transcripts left open the possibility that Nopetro might choose to move forward with the project at another time. Nopetro has confirmed that this is not the case. No formal applications were received by the city government for the project.

Nopetro’s Port St. Joe LNG project became the subject of frequent discussion within the community, garnering both support and vocal opposition and making the minutes of many public meetings.

It became the subject of a federal lawsuit after D.C. based consumer advocacy organization and think tank Public Citizen, along with several locals, filed a complaint with the D.C. Circuit Court in September 2022, challenging a March 2022 decision by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

FERC declared the project to be outside the scope of their jurisdiction due to its unique design in which liquified natural gas would be driven 1,400 feet by truck to the point of exit, which FERC said disqualifies it as an LNG export terminal.

According to Tyson Slocum, Energy Program Director for Public Citizen, Public Citizen still plans to continue their lawsuit, even with the Port St. Joe project no longer moving forward. 

“Our lawsuit is going to proceed ahead because the lawsuit is bigger than just Port St. Joe,” he said. “It’s about closing this loophole so that other communities aren’t exposed to the ability of an LNG export terminal to build the facility without FERC oversight.”

The case is expected to appear before the court sometime this fall.

Moving forward

Slocum then said that the termination of Nopetro’s LNG project opened up the ability for discussions about how to proceed with the St. Joe Company’s land.

Due to contamination at the site that remains from its decades of housing the paper mill, potential uses for the land are limited by a restrictive covenant reached by the St. Joe Company and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection in the aftermath of the paper mill’s closing.

Under it, the land cannot be used for “agriculture, forestry, fishing, mining, hotels, lodging, recreation (including amusement parks), camps, museums, zoos, gardens, residential uses, or educational uses (such as elementary schools or daycare services).”

But members of the Gulf County Citizens Coalition for a Healthy Future, who formed in opposition to the LNG project, say that in the wake of Nopetro’s proposed plant, they are looking to open up communications with the St. Joe Company about future uses for the land.

“We are going to be working with the regenesis institute, and they have been very successful in coming up with alternatives to sites like that, like bringing in garment recycling companies and stuff like that,” said Dannie Bolden, one of the leaders of the opposition to the LNG project..

Nopetro will continue to work in LNG, according to materials on the company’s website, which they say supports their overall goals of providing cleaner energy alternatives to petroleum.

Research has shown LNG is among the safest of the fossil fuels to produce and transport. It reduces carbon dioxide emissions by up to 40% and releases virtually no NOx or SOx. 

But it is not devoid of risks. Opponents of the project pointed out that several LNG facilities operated by other companies have experienced explosions within the past five years. 

Representatives from Nopetro stated that among the company’s next steps is the construction of a renewable natural gas (RNG) production plant in Indian River County.

“The Indian River County RNG facility, one of the first of its kind in Florida, will collect harmful chemicals from landfill waste decomposition and convert them into a clean, safe and cost-effective energy source,” said a public relations specialist representing the company. “From there, the RNG that is created is injected straight into pipelines for distribution across the country.”



Meet the Editor

Wendy Weitzel, The Star’s digital editor, joined the news outlet in August 2021, as a reporter covering primarily Gulf County.

Prior to then, she interned for Oklahoma-based news wire service Gaylord News and for Oklahoma City-based online newspaper NonDoc.com during her four years at the University of Oklahoma, from which she graduated in May with degrees in online journalism and political science.

While at OU, Weitzel was selected as Carnegie-Knight News21 Investigative Fellow among 30 top journalism students from around the country. She also was senior editor managing a 12-person newsroom in coordination with Oklahoma Watch, a non-profit news organization in eastern Oklahoma.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

7 Comments

  1. Have loved seeing how our community came together to oppose this project in a very productive and calm manner.

  2. Thank you to all that protected the St. Joe communities and bay to save our tourism industry, the market, our jobs, the environment, and especially the sea life in the bay. This is a thankful victory.

  3. Blessings and thanks to all who took on the challenge to preserve and protect our community! It’s amazing what our community can do when we come together! More so when our local leadership and local government seek opportunities to benefit all! Again, “Hats Off” to ALL those, who made this HAPPEN! Keep up the good fight! Ray

  4. Great now the poverty can be passed on to the next generation as the poor community in Indian River will surely benefit from the long term well paying jobs this project will provide them

  5. Blessings from Chester Residents Concerned for Quality Living in Chester, PA. Congratulations on your victory!! We will learn from your community to defeat a proposed LNG attempting to site here. The people united will never be defeated!!
    Zulene Mayfield,Chairperson

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