Carrizo Comecrudo Tribe of Texas
In 2021, Climate Nexus launched an Energy Equity Regranting Project to help resource organizations, tribes, and community leaders on the frontlines of climate change and the impactful work they are doing to fight the gas industry. The energy equity transition grants prioritize grassroots groups with an annual budget of $1 million or less to boost their efforts in racially, ethnically, gender, and culturally diverse communities across the United States and at the intersections of public health and energy justice.
In our first year running the program, nine organizations received grants ranging from $20,000 to $40,000, including the Carrizo Comecrudo Tribe of Texas, whose work is detailed below.
Based within the South Texas Rio Grande delta, the Carrizo Comecrudo Tribe of Texas has faced a multitude of threats to its historic land. As temperatures increase, the dangers of extreme heat have become a focal point of the tribe, as well as fighting the construction of pipelines across the Southwest, increasing accurate history for the Texas Education Board, and increasing proper federal recognition of their related villages as part of the tribe.
The Carrizo Comecrudo Tribe of Texas has made great strides in protecting sacred sites and supporting claims to their ancestral lands. The work of the Tribe is expansive and never-ending, as they must fight endlessly on multiple fronts. In addition to the milestones presented below, the Tribe travels thousands of miles throughout Texas, monitoring pipelines, disposal wells, ongoing border wall construction, and fracking and flaring violations.
- The Tribe organized and held a Human Rights Tribunal, the first of its kind. This Tribunal presented expert and community testimony on the history and sovereignty of the tribe, created an official record of harm caused to tribal members individually and collectively (past and present with implications for future generations), and made known the environmental and economic damages of proposed LNG projects, and established grounds to hold governments and corporations accountable for historical and present harm. Data, evidence, and testimony gathered at this event are now being used by other Tribal Nations seeking to protect their land and inherent rights as Indigenous Peoples.
- As a leader in the resistance against methane gas export terminals, the Carrizo Comecrudo Tribe of Texas, in partnership with other organizations and community members in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV), has been successful in delaying permits for the Texas LNG and Rio Grande LNG facilities proposed in Brownsville, with one project, Annova LNG, pulling out altogether.
- Local groups, including the Tribe, are pressuring FERC to cancel Rio Grande LNG’s request for an extension to their permit application, as they are now several years past previously extended target dates. The Tribe is writing opposition comments and trying to secure more meetings with various officials to request canceling this permit altogether.
The Tribe struggles with the state of Texas because the state refuses to acknowledge the Tribe or deal with them respectfully or equitably. This has resulted in the Tribe pursuing engagement at the federal level for relief and recourse. They have successfully petitioned meetings this past year with legislators and government officials at the EPA, USACE, FAA, FERC, and CPB. However, there remains a need for legal representation on many issues.
Future and Sustainability
The Tribe is a service organization that provides mutual aid to its members and many other tribal communities in need during disasters or difficult times. General operating support is always needed, especially as they build capacity. Currently, the Tribe is working with only three full-time employees, two part-time employees, and several occasional volunteers.
The Tribe would also like to increase and improve its technology and communication capabilities. They require more efficient and cost-effective internet and broadband services; equipment for a planned radio station; and improved facilities at their central location — the Ewaye’hii Esto’k Spiritual Center — for youth programs and education events, computers and technology equipment, and general support for utilities and office supplies. Of immediate need is an office location in Brownsville, Texas, to establish a field office to collaborate with the World Monuments Fund in the communities of Cameron County for the preservation and protection of Garcia Pasture and build resistance to SpaceX expansion, proposed LNG terminals, and two more pipelines crossing through the county, all in the same vicinity.
The Tribe is planning a monumental event later this year, the “Reclaiming the Land Ancestral Run/Walk – Connecting the Permian Basin to the Gulf.” This run/walk will be led by Native youth and will be based around Dia de los Muertos, a celebration of their Ancestors. The run will travel through many sacred sites impacted by the oil/gas industry, beginning at Big Bend National Park, traveling through Devil’s River, up through Midland/Odessa, and back down to Laredo with a final stop at Garcia Pasture, covering hundreds of miles.
Filter Grantees by Year:
Earth Care is fighting false solutions like hydrogen and carbon capture, and is building public awareness of the health dangers of fracking.
The Sacred Places Institute for Indigenous Peoples is a forum for tribal communities to protect sacred sites and advance environmental priorities.
Rise to Thrive builds community among Women and Femmes of Color across the country to catalyze a shift of power within the environmental movement.
RENEW Worcester advances energy projects that prioritize communities and the buildout of affordable, renewable energy.
Viet Voices educates San Diego’s Vietnamese community about sustainability, environmental health, and accessible housing.
The Society of Native Nations works in Texas and California to contest the oil, gas, and petrochemical buildout from the Permian Basin to the Gulf Coast.
The Vessel Project is a mutual aid organization supporting people in Calcasieu Parish by meeting their emergency needs efficiently and without barriers.
VISIÓN works with community organizations to establish health and safety buffer zones between oil wells and homes and schools.
7 Directions of Service is fighting to cancel the Mountain Valley Pipeline’s Southgate Extension and to advance Rights of Nature laws.
PJC organizes not-for-profit electricity coops around Montgomery and is organizing their constituency around energy and environmental justice.
Washington Interfaith Network is working to help low- and moderate income DC households switch from fossil fuels to clean and efficient electric heating.
MCUP advances energy equity in Black and Indigenous communities by training women in clean energy contracting and project management.