In 1972 the Port of Corpus Christi Authority (PCCA) proposed building a port for very large crude carriers (VLCCs) on Harbor Island, directly across from Port Aransas. Building a port facility to service ships larger than the carrier Lexington would require an enormous amount of dredging with commensurate damage to estuary marine life. Not to mention very serious wake damage from these enormous ships.
Deeport was eventually killed off due largely to opposition from Port Aransas folks. We believe that the Port's current version of Deeport should receive the same fate and for the same reasons.
At its March 15 meeting PCCA contracted with AECOM Technical Services Inc. out of Los Angeles to conduct a “75-Foot Deepening Project Feasibility Study,” assessing “tasks required to permit the PCCA to deepen the Corpus Christi Ship channel…to -75 feet MLLW from the Gulf of Mexico to La Quinta Junction to accommodate Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC) vessels.” Actually dredging will have to extend at least 10 miles out into the Gulf before the water is deep enough for VLCCs to float at low tide. This is why the Port Aransas Conservancy proposes an offshore terminal with a pipeline to shore like the very successful Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP). The Port of Brownsville has started their own offshore terminal.
Despite proposing to park VLCCs at Harbor Island where they can fill up from a huge tank farm PCCA envisions dredging all the way to La Quinta Junction for a second VLCC port. (not the Port's).
· The Harbor Island/Redfish Bay area is utilized by 50-60,000 waterfowl each winter and supports about 15,000 pairs of some 20 species of birds. A number of rare and endangered birds—particularly the brown pelican—would be drastically affected by loss of feeding and nesting grounds.
· Incoming VLCCs would have an absolute right-of-way with one way traffic for the 4-5 hours before actually docking. This will complicate sailing plans for ocean going vessels—not to mention fishing and pleasure boats.
· Tankers of greater than 275,000 dead weight tons (fully loaded) would be using the Harbor Island docks. This is 4-5 times the size of tankers now entering the port regularly.
· Wake erosion of Port Aransas shoreline and the danger to smaller craft would be severe. This is well documented in two studies by an engineering firm who looked at the problems smaller tankers were creating at Cline’s Point Marina and along the Port Aransas shoreline. The problems were dramatic and the solutions nowhere near adequate to cope with wakes from VLCCs.
For all these reasons the Port Aransas Conservancy is strongly opposed to PCCA’s proposed plans. We propose and offshore oil terminal along the lines of what Louisiana has done and the Port of Brownsville is building. Such a port will avoid the serious ecological damage that Deeport 2 inevitably entails.
Full 1978 Draft Environmental Impact Statement Department of the Army Permit Application No. 9563 (pdf)Download
SUMMARY DEPARTMENT OF ARMY Permit Application No. 9563 (pdf)Download
4. ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF THE PROPOSED ACTION-PART 1 (pdf)Download
4. ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF THE PROPOSED ACTION-PART 2 (pdf)Download
5. ADVERSE ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS WHICH CANNOT BE AVOIDED SHOULD THE PROPOSED ACTION BE IMPLEMENTED (pdf)Download
6. ALTERNATIVES (pdf)Download
8. ANY IRREVERSIBLE AND IRRETRIEVABLE COMMITMENTS OF RESOURCES INVOLVED IN THE PROPOSED ACTION (pdf)Download
Working on a Dream--Plans Afoot to Load Crude onto VLCCs at More Gulf Coast Ports (pdf)Download
Deep Water - Contenders in the Race to Build Crude Oil Export Terminals Off the Texas Coast (pdf)Download
Deep Water, Part 2 - Contenders in the Race to Build Crude Oil Export Terminals Off the Texas Coast (pdf)Download
Corpus Christi Bay - An Update on the South Texas Port city's Crude Oil Export Infrastructrure (pdf)Download
Buckeye Plans VLCC-Capable Oil Terminal at Corpus Christi (pdf)Download
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