On May 17, 2019 Wood Engineering on behalf of the Port of Corpus Christi Authority (POCCA) filed with the Army Corps of Engineers a "Standard Individual Permit Application under Section 404 of the Clean Waters Act and Section 10 of the Rivers & Harbors Act for a berth construction project on Harbor Island, and associated dredging in a nearby Maneuvering Basin." Included in their application were detailed plans that we've long sought.
But those plans were still a work in progress so on July 10 POCCA filed a revised application, which you'll find below. The project would consist of two VLCC berths dredged to a depth of -60 feet MLLW, removing 6.5 million cubic yards (CY) of material; a large pump facility that can load crude at a rate of 80,000 barrels per hour; two vapor recovery units (VCUs) to burn off fumes that escape tankers during filling; two bermed storage tanks to handle surges; and all of this fed by a 36" pipeline running down the 361 corridor. We are assured that "The proposed development is consistent with the Port Aransas zoning ordinances" and that "There are no potential adverse impacts expected as a result of construction activities associated with the proposed Project." It's all good.
Or not. Appendix H--Consistency with the Texas Coastal Management Program Document--is a simple checklist where we're to take POCCA's word that they're following Texas law regarding dredging and waterfront construction. We'd like to see some proof of that along with the Water Quality Certification that they claim is In Process.
Appendix J--Protected Natural Resources Information--lists numerous fish, birds, turtles and mammals in the project area that are either threatened or engangered. The US Dept of the Interior Fish and Wildlife Service said, "We strongly recommend that the selected project site not impact wetlands and reparian areas, and be located as far as practical from these areas."
As for the economic impact NONE of it benefits Port Aransas or the coastal bend--it's all money in POCCA's pockets. The impact on tourism, on which Port A is heavily dependent, is bound to be negative as is the effect on property values. The Port's claims that the terminals will have minimal impact on maritime traffic and may in fact reduce it are ludicrous.
TAKE IT OFFSHORE!
“PCCA’s proposed export terminal project is clearly one component of PCCA’s larger crude oil export project, if not the even larger “Harbor Island Redevelopment Project” described on PCCA’s website as including the export project. Among the activities described by PCCA for Harbor Island, apparently to allow the terminal aspect to proceed, are: 1) pipelines and storage facilities for transport of crude oil to and at the PCCA’s terminal, as well as the proposed terminal of Axis Midstream, and possibly of Martin Midstream 2) efforts toward further restoration of soils and remediation of ground water contamination, and 3) a new desalination facility to provide fresh water for industrial use. Only recently has the 80 foot channel deepening been removed by PCCA from its description of the crude oil export project, but it remains as part of the larger redevelopment. It is clearly going to be part of the longer-term crude oil export project for the PCCA terminal and those of others.
“The Port Aransas Conservancy urges the USACE and the Texas state agencies to advise PCCA, Midstream and Lone Star that the applications for federal permits and state authorizations for the full crude oil export project on Harbor Island must be consolidated, including the application for the deepening of the ship channel.
“In the event that such consolidation of the applications is not required, still one NEPA compliance process should be completed by USACE for all related projects.
“USACE should also require PCCA to address the deficiencies identified in the comments above and those of other commenters. USACE should either return the application or require its amendment with the type of data and analysis identified above, including:…”
To read PAC's full comments to USACE and TCEQ click the button below
You have until September 23 to make your concerns known to the Corps and to request a public hearing. Please do both!
The purpose of a public hearing is to solicit additional information to assist in the evaluation of the proposed project. Prior to the close of the comment period, any person may make a written request for a public hearing, setting forth the particular reasons for the request. The District Engineer will determine if the reasons identified for holding a public hearing are sufficient to warrant that a public hearing be held. If a public hearing is warranted, all known interested persons will be notified of the time, date, and location.
CLOSE OF COMMENT PERIOD
All comments pertaining to this Public Notice must reach this office on or before September 23, 2019. Extensions of the comment period may be granted for valid reasons provided a written request is received by the limiting date. If no comments are received by that date, it will be considered that there are no objections. Comments and requests for additional information should reference file number SWG-2019-00245 and should be submitted to:
Corpus Christi Field Office
Regulatory Division, CESWG-RD-R
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
5151 Flynn Parkway, Suite 306
Corpus Christi, TX 78411-4318
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