ACA.trumpvisit022.051519.jpg

President Donald Trump speaks during a visit to the Sempra Energy LNG export facility on Tuesday, May 14, 2019, in Hackberry, Louisiana.

HACKBERRY — President Donald Trump praised workers at a southwestern Louisiana liquefied natural gas plant Tuesday, saying their work was fueling a new "American ... revolution" that would deliver clean energy to people across the world.

In his second trip to Louisiana this year, Trump toured Sempra Energy's Cameron Liquefied Natural Gas Export Facility before traveling to New Orleans for a fundraiser. In a 47-minute address under a sunny, spring sky, he promoted American energy independence and infrastructure, the economy and two recent executive orders aimed at helping the oil and gas industry by easing restrictions on energy infrastructure and promoting fossil fuel development.

“Today we celebrate the amazing workers at Sempra LNG," the president said. "From right here in Hackberry, Louisiana, you are bringing clean, natural gas to countries all over the globe. The skilled and talented 7,000 workers here at this facility are helping lead the American energy revolution."

Trump added that once the $10 billion facility is fully operational, it will produce 15 million tons of liquefied natural gas a year, enough to meet 25 percent of the European Union’s needs in 2018. Currently, only one of the three structures where the LNG is processed are operational.

According to the United States Department of Energy, the U.S. exports LNG to 35 countries on five continents.

Liquefied natural gas is natural gas that has been condensed to a liquid state at minus-260 degrees Fahrenheit. Its reduced volume makes it easier to transport.

Sempra Energy Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Martin said the new LNG facility here allows American energy to access new markets in Asia and Europe, improve the economic security of America and its allies and bring a cleaner fuel source to the world.

“At the end of the day, this celebration is also about America’s energy renaissance. In its simplest form, think of the LNG facility behind me as a gateway to a more exciting future for American energy,” Martin said.

Sempra Energy announced last month that the Hackberry export terminal — Phase One of the Cameron LNG project — had begun feeding natural gas to the first liquefaction unit ahead of ramping up production. The Cameron Parish site is expected to create 10,000 construction jobs as the build-out continues, then hundreds of permanent jobs once it is completed.

U.S. Rep. Clay Higgins, R-Port Barre, said the opening of the facility and support of the state’s energy industry through dredging of shipping channels are proof of Trump’s openness to help economic growth in Louisiana.

“This is reflective of the president’s commitment to American jobs on American soil and American economic prosperity,” Higgins said. “There’s an LNG boom in the entire world and the epicenter of that is right here and the president recognizes that and has helped us.”

Also in attendance were Sens. John Kennedy and Bill Cassidy, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, Reps. Mike Johnson, Ralph Abraham and Garret Graves, Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser, Attorney General Jeff Landry, Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland and Energy Commissioner for the EU Maroš Šefcovic.

While much of Trump's speech was about plants like Sempra's having a major role in American energy independence, Trump also took jabs at the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates and the proposed Green New Deal targeting climate change. He said if the Green New Deal passed, "everybody in this room gets fired."

He also pledged that, if re-elected, he wanted to find a way to build a new Interstate 10 bridge at Lake Charles, eliminating a bottleneck on the cross-country highway.

"If we win this election, we're giving you a brand new I-10 bridge," he said. "We're gonna have it all set, ready to go Day One, right after the election."

Following his stop in Hackberry, President Trump boarded Air Force One and traveled to New Orleans for a private campaign fundraiser.

Trump had last visited Louisiana in January, when he addressed the American Farm Bureau Federation's annual gathering in New Orleans. He has remained politically popular among Louisiana voters, 58 percent of whom voted for him in the 2016 election. Tuesday's trip was his third to the state since taking office.

As Trump traveled through southwestern Louisiana, several motorcycle escort officers crashed but the president's motorcade itself was not involved. The Secret Service says four officers were involved, and three of them were taken to a hospital to be treated for minor injuries. Lake Charles police and the White House said in separate statements that three officers were involved.

Lake Charles police say two Calcasieu Parish sheriff's deputies and a Sulphur police officer crashed on Interstate 210 eastbound over Broad Street in Lake Charles. Secret Service spokesman Mason Brayman says in an emailed statement that a Westlake police officer also was involved. City and State Police are investigating.


Follow Dan Boudreaux on Twitter, @dan_boudreaux