Native Americans and Local Residents Sue U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Over Oil Export Terminal Expansion Approval

Refinery in Corpus Christi. Photo by Terrence Henry

MODA Ingleside Oil Terminal, LLC (MODA) (the country’s leading oil export terminal) plans to double its capacity will destroy Karankawa cultural site, seagrasses, and wetlands.

The Indigenous Peoples of the Coastal Bend, Karankawa Kadla Tribe of the Texas Gulf Coast, and Ingleside on the Bay Coastal Watch Association have filed a lawsuit in federal court against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for issuing a permit for MODA to expand its operations into an undeveloped area sacred to local Indigenous people, without addressing environmental and community concerns as required under the National Environmental Policy Act and the Clean Water Act.

Now the largest U.S. oil exporter, MODA wants to construct an additional deep-water dock and  turning basin to load up to 3 barges and 2 supertankers at one time.

Members of Indigenous Peoples and of the Karankawa Kadla tribe hold sacred the land and adjacent waters where the proposed MODA Terminal expansion will be built, because of its links to the members’ ancestors, who lived in the area for hundreds of years. During an investigation of the McGloin’s Bluff site in 2008-2009, archeologists uncovered over 39,000 artifacts from this significant Karankawa encampment and recommended that it be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

“This area was home to my ancestors for hundreds of years. I am deeply concerned that MODA’s expansion will destroy this sacred land and the artifacts buried within it, forever erasing these pieces of our history and removing these last remaining vestiges of my ancestry from the earth,” said Love Sanchez, co-founder of Indigeneous Peoples of the Coastal Bend and  Karankawa Kadla Tribe member. “The Army Corps granted MODA a permit to expand their facility without even looking at how MODA’s expansion may impact the artifacts on and around McGloin’s Bluff. Without a meaningful and comprehensive review of the project’s potential and likely impacts, allowing the expansion is an avoidable and intentional act of erasure.”

Residents of the coastal city of Ingleside on the Bay, located immediately adjacent to MODA, have complained in the last few years of increased noise, light, and air pollution, silting of seagrasses, and unsafe boating. Earlier this year a supertanker lost power and crashed into Moda’s existing pier. The approved permit will allow MODA to build a new dock even closer to the city, leading residents to worry about further decline of their fishing, boating safety, personal health, and property values. 

“I grew up appreciating this beautiful place and what it has to offer since my parents bought land in Ingleside in 1967 when I was 14 years old,” stated Patrick Nye, President of the Ingleside on the Bay Coastal Watch Association. “My family and I are deeply concerned that the proposed expansion of MODA’s operations would prevent us from enjoying the many activities and events that we have built our lives around, like watching birds, and shelling and fishing off our pier.  One of my main concerns as a fisherman and birder is that the MODA expansion will destroy many acres of life-sustaining seagrasses.” 

Plaintiffs are represented by attorneys with the law firms of Perales, Allmon & Ice, P.C. and Waltzer Wiygul & Garside LLC.

Download complaint HERE.

For more information, visit