AUSTIN, TX – The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) denied a permit on September 1 for a major offshore oil terminal proposed on the Gulf Coast near Corpus Christi, Texas, ruling that the Bluewater Texas terminal should reduce its toxic air pollution of about 95%.
“We are relieved that the EPA listened to the public, came to its senses, and decided that this ridiculous project needed pollution controls after all,” said Gabriel Clark-Leach, attorney for the Environmental Integrity Project. , which opposed the permit with a coalition of 15 allied organizations. “EPA regulations require ship loading operations, such as the Port of Bluewater, to reduce toxic air pollution by 95 percent. Enforcing this rule will reduce the amount of pollution the Bluewater Terminal will emit by a whopping 18,000 tonnes each year.
The proposed Bluewater Texas offshore terminal, in the Gulf about 25 miles southeast of Corpus Christi, is designed to handle 1.9 MMbbl/d of crude oil from tankers, which would connect to the port via floating pipes.
On May 30, 2019, Bluewater Texas Terminal LLC applied to the EPA for a permit under the Clean Air Act to build a major new offshore oil terminal near Corpus Christi that would export up to 384 million barrels of crude oil per year. on large tankers.
On November 12, 2020, the EPA released a proposed Air Pollution Control Permit for the terminal that would allow Bluewater to emit nearly 19,000 tons per year of smog-forming volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and 833 tons per year of hazardous air pollutants per year, including 66 tonnes per year of carcinogenic benzene. To put these numbers into context, the amount of VOCs that this single terminal would have released would have been greater than that of the 273 industrial sources in the Houston (Harris County) area.
In written comments submitted to the EPA on January 11, 2021, environmental groups argued that the EPA should amend the proposed permit to require pollution controls that would reduce Bluewater’s emissions of hazardous air pollutants and VOCs. at least 95%. The groups argued that these controls, including vapor recovery and combustion systems, are legally mandated under the Clean Air Act.
They also argued that the EPA failed to perform the required environmental justice analysis because pollution of the terminal’s onshore and offshore infrastructure in the Corpus Christi area poses risks to minority and low-income communities.
On September 1, the EPA’s Region Six office in Dallas wrote to Bluewater Texas Terminals LLC asking the company to withdraw its proposed permit and submit a new proposal that would meet air pollutant reduction requirements. . The EPA said it agreed with the argument made by environmental groups that “the proposed project…should be required to reduce emissions of hazardous air pollutants by 95 percent.”
Environmental and community groups that opposed the permit were the Environmental Integrity Project, Earthjustice, the Carrizo/Comecrudo Tribe of Texas, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Clean Economy Coalition of Corpus Christi, Environment Texas, Errol Summerlin, For the Greater Good, Indigenous Peoples of the Coastal Bend, Ingleside on the Bay Coastal Watch Association, Islander Green Team, Public Citizen, Texas Campaign for the Environment, the Sierra Club and the Surfrider Foundation.
. EPA refuses authorization for a project terminal tanker offshore on coast gulf Texas