Coastal Bend Group Opposition To The Bluewater Offshore Oil Terminal

On November 18, 2021, the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) held a virtual public meeting with regard to the Bluewater offshore oil terminal. All of the details regarding Bluewater can be found at The public meeting was held to receive public comments on the project's Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The building of this Bluewater offshore facility, which is a disastrous proposal by the oil industry in every one of its aspects, is unequivocally opposed by the Sierra Club Coastal Bend Group.

Here are the comments made by the Interim Chair of the Coastal Bend Group, Jim Klein, in opposition to this Bluewater offshore oil terminal:

I speak tonight as the Interim Chair of the Texas Coastal Bend Sierra Club group, whose members live in 17 counties in the region centered around Corpus Christi, Texas of which I am a resident.  I urge rejection of this application.

There are multiple reasons for my decision to oppose this project.  

First, this project would create 55 miles of 30 inch pipeline on the Texas shore in this region and in the Gulf of Mexico extending to the offshore terminal.  The oil and gas industry has a very poor record regarding pipeline leaks, and this would then endanger flora and fauna in the Gulf and along the Texas shoreline in the Coastal Bend region.  Among other forms of life this project would destroy the nesting grounds of the Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtles and would endanger the breeding grounds of already endangered whooping cranes.  

Second, the Port of Corpus Christi has experienced numerous industrial accidents in the past 18 months which caused grave injuries to workers and killed several.  We are concerned that such regular industrial accidents would further increase at an offshore facility 15 miles into the Gulf of Mexico.  

Third, Phillipps 66, one of the partners in this project, has a poor safety and environmental record.  It has not been a good corporate neighbor.  Related to this poor record, this facility would produce air pollutants that the prevailing winds would carry to the Texas Coastal Bend coastline, threatening my health and that of other residents in this region

Fourth, because this facility would be 15 miles into the Gulf, safety and environmental oversight would be less than onshore facilities that already have poor records in these areas.  The man-made Deepwater Horizon disaster should have been a wake-up call to inform all of us that such off-shore facilities are particularly difficult to regulate and thus unsafe and threatening to the Gulf marine environment as well as the nearby coastal region—the Coastal Bend region of Texas.  

Fifth (and related), the Deep Water Horizon disaster devastated the economies of the Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama gulf coast.  The Bluewater facility would unnecessarily imperil the Texas Coastal Bend economy pertaining to recreational and sport fishing, birding, and environmental tourism.  

Sixth, this facility would further aggravate climate change at a time when the only responsible thing to do is to move away from the burning of fossil fuels that are causing climate change and its extreme weather events, such as the Texas big freeze of 2021, devastating hurricanes like Hurricane Harvey of 2017, and wild fires like the Bastrop, Texas fire from several years earlier.

For all of these reasons, the Coastal Bend Sierra Club group strongly urges rejection of this application.