Dear Governor Abbott,

This is a petition requesting that the Governor's office not act to circumvent a fair and open evaluation of the best method for exporting large quantities of crude oil from Corpus Christi. The need for this petition arises from the following situation:

The Port of Corpus Christi Authority (PCCA) is proposing to build a supertanker port at Harbor Island in Port Aransas to service very large crude carriers (VLCCs), each of which holds 2 million gallons and is larger than the aircraft carrier Enterprise. Plans also show the 75-foot project extending to Ingleside on the north side of Corpus Christi Bay. Either of these projects requires dredging the current Corpus Christi Channel from its current 47 feet to 75-85 feet and building a supertanker terminal directly across a narrow channel from the municipal park in Port Aransas.

A channel dredged to 75 feet or more poses a very real risk to Port Aransas as well as Corpus Christi and Aransas Bays. A deep channel will bring more salt water into the bay, threatening shrimp and fish productivity in addition to the crabs on which endangered whooping cranes depend. Given the decreases in inflow from the Nueces River over the years the last thing our estuaries need is more salt water, which is considered by many to be the biggest long-term threat to Texas coastal productivity. A deeper channel also will increase the severity of a storm surge, another impact that Port Aransas and the bay community do not need.

An offshore terminal has been proposed by a private company 12.4 nautical miles offshore from Padre Island, similar to ones in the works offshore from Houston and Brownsville. Rather than supporting this private initiative, the Port has opposed it. The chairman of the PCCA commission Charles Zahn recently stated, “The governor has the absolute right to kill that deal, and so we're working on that." This is of great concern to us.

Here you have a local governmental agency trying to maintain its monopoly by killing off private competition no matter what the cost. We urge you not to intervene but instead let this process unfold in a fair and honest manner. We believe that competition is good and that if the private sector has a better project, then it should be pursued. At the very least there should be a level playing field with no special advantage to a governmental authority, particularly if their project is more environmentally damaging than the private one.

This petition requests that your office ensure that this process unfolds fairly and honestly. We urge you not to intervene as requested by the Port. The Port Aransas Conservancy believes that an offshore alternative will prove to be environmentally and economically superior. We call on you to keep that option alive and not let a private firm get rolled over by an aggressive local agency.